Gianforte sentenced to community service for assaulting reporterLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Gianforte sentenced to community service for assaulting reporter

WASHINGTON – Rep.-elect Greg Gianforte of Montana on Monday pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter but avoided jail time – receiving a sentence of community service and anger management counseling.

Gianforte, a multimillionaire technology entrepreneur and the Republican nominee for governor last year, was elected in a spcial election on May 25 – the day after assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. The reporter said Gianforte body slammed him after becoming enraged when Jacobs asked him a question about the healh care bill. Jacobs’ audiotape of the incident captured a scuffle, Jacobs saying Gianforte had broken his eyeglasses and Gianforte ordering him to “get the hell out of here.”

Gallatin County Justice of the Peace Rick West in Bozeman sentenced Gianforte to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management counseling and ordered him to pay a $385 fine for the misdemeanor. If he stays out of trouble for 180 days, he can petition for the conviction to be removed from his record.

Gianforte’s attorneys said their client had paid more than $4,600 in restitution to Jacobs, who signed a release agreeing not to sue. Gianforte wrote a letter of apology to Jacobs and pledged to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ben Jacobs (Twitter/Ben Jacobs)

“I am pleased to see that this issue has been resolved, that Congressman-elect Gianforte has taken responsibility for his actions and justice has been served,” Jacobs said. “I fully expect Congressman-elect Gianforte’s thoughtful apology will be followed by concrete measures once he has taken his seat in Congress. I hope the court’s decision will send a strong message about the necessity of civil discourse and the importance of a free press.”

Gianforte is expected to be sworn in this month. Jacobs said in an MSNBC interview that he intends to cover Gianforte and will continue to ask him questions.

About the author

Regina Holmes

Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner. She also launched an award-winning investigative news website that tackled police and political corruption in Baltimore. She has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and Baltimore County Public Schools. Regina became a journalist because even as a child she was fascinated by the power of the press: how it could force a president out of office, elect a president, expose corruption, and shine a light on discrimination. She is passionate about giving a voice to people who are disenfranchised, ignored or powerless, including people of color, senior citizens, the impoverished, people with disabilities, veterans, and children. Issues in which she is particularly interested include race relations, criminal justice, and police brutality. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In her spare time, Regina enjoys traveling,antiquing, window-shopping for carsand watching HGTV. Contact the author.