Montana Congressman Reports for Booking on Assault Charge

BOZEMAN, Mont. (CN) – U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, sentenced after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault in June, appeared at the Gallatin County Detention Center Friday morning for fingerprinting and a mug shot.

Gianforte, R-Mont., was charged with misdemeanor assault after he threw The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground after Jacobs had asked the then-candidate for his opinion about health care legislation. Gianforte pleaded guilty to the charge and Gallatin County Justice Court Judge Rick West sentenced him to 40 hours of community service, required him to complete 20 hours of anger-management classes and fined him $385.

A spokeswoman at the jail confirmed Gianforte had appeared Friday morning and was released.

Gianforte had until Sept. 15 to appear, after Judge West on Monday ordered him to appear for booking.

As part of a settlement with Jacobs, Gianforte issued a written apology to the reporter and promised to donate $50,000 to a journalism-advocacy organization.

The assault happened May 24, the eve of Montana’s special election to fill the vacant seat of former Rep. Ryan Zinke, whom President Donald Trump had picked to lead the Department of Interior. Gianforte won the election the next day by narrowly defeating Democratic opponent Rob Quist.

When he appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court in June, Gianforte’s attorneys objected to him having to show up for fingerprinting and photography, arguing Montana law does not require a judge to order fingerprinting and booking photographs. Judge West denied that objection.

Gianforte has already filed to enter the 2018 House election. So far, one Democrat, Billings attorney John Heenan, has filed to run against Gianforte.

 

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