Gianforte to plead guilty to assaulting reporter

USA TODAY - The soon-to-be U.S. congressman from Montana charged with assaulting a reporter last month will plead guilty, according to the Billings Gazette and The Associated Press.

U.S. Rep.-elect Greg Gianforte, a Republican who lives in Bozeman, allegedly body slammed and knocked Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground when Jacobs asked him a question about a health care bill on May 24. Gianforte will enter his guilty plea on the misdemeanor charge on Monday, when he will be arraigned and sentenced, the AP reported. The day after the alleged assault, Gianforte was elected as Montana’s only U.S. House member.

Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert did not immediately respond to a telephone message left at his office Friday afternoon. Gianforte could not be reached early Friday evening.

Gianforte reached a civil settlement earlier this week and asked for Monday’s hearing, the Gazette reported. Jacobs agree not to sue the congressman-elect and Gianforte promised to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Gazette reported.

In Montana, convictions for misdemeanor assault call for a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $500 fine.

Gianforte was elected to serve the remainder of the term of Ryan Zinke, named by President Trump to serve as Interior secretary.

The election drew donations from across the United States, the Gazette reported. Gianforte will assume office later this month.

Copyright 2017 USA Today


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