Candidate charged with election-eve assault
“Late on the night before a hotly contested special election, U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault after a national political reporter alleged the Republican “body slammed” him, sending a last-minute shock wave through the race.
Shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office was summoned to Gianforte’s campaign headquarters at 212 Discovery Lane in Bozeman.
The reporter, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, claimed on Twitter that Gianforte assaulted him.
After multiple interviews with witnesses Wednesday night, the sheriff’s office cited Gianforte for the misdemeanor. Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said the incident did not meet the criteria for a felony charge.
Gianforte must appear in Gallatin County Justice Court between now and June 7.
In an emailed statement, Shane Scanlon, spokesman for the Gianforte campaign, gave the following account of the confrontation:
“Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined,” Scanlon said.
“Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”