Montana Congressman Booked After Assault Conviction
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte was photographed and fingerprinted Friday, days after a judge ordered him to be booked after pleading guilty to assaulting a reporter on the eve of the special election that put him in office.
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert declined Friday to release the mug shot that Democrats would likely use against him during the 2018 election cycle. Lambert's practice is not to release mug shots without a judge's order. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports it filed an application in District Court Friday asking a judge to release it.
Gianforte, 56, pleaded guilty in June to assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on May 24. Jacobs said Gianforte "body slammed" him and broke his glasses when he asked a question about a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that had passed the U.S. House. Audio taken by Jacobs recorded the sounds of a scuffle followed by Gianforte yelling, "Get the hell out of here!"
The former software executive was ordered to pay a $385 fine, complete 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counseling. Part of his settlement with Jacobs included a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Project Journalists. He was given a 180-day suspended sentence, but was ordered to report to jail to be booked.
Gianforte's attorneys argued against him having to be booked because he was not formally arrested in the case.
Justice of the Peace Rick West last week ordered the Bozeman Republican to be booked by Sept. 15 or be held in contempt of court.
"Greg has fulfilled the terms. The matter is resolved," Travis Hall, Gianforte's communications director, said Friday. "He remains 100 percent focused on serving the people of Montana."
Jail records indicate Gianforte's booking process took 23 minutes, beginning at 6:37 a.m. A jail spokeswoman confirmed he was booked and released.
Lee Hanson with ROC Wheels confirmed that Gianforte had completed his 40 hours of community service with the program that builds custom wheelchairs for children.
Courtney Radsch, the advocacy director for the Committee to Project Journalists, said the $50,000 donation was made soon after Gianforte was sentenced.
He also paid $4,600 for Jacobs' medical bills and travel costs to attend the June hearing. Gianforte also apologized to Jacobs in court, adding: "And if and when you're ready, I look forward to sitting down with you in D.C."
A spokeswoman for the Guardian says they're still working on that.
"Ben Jacobs first reached out to Congressman Gianforte for an on-the-record interview on June 22 and has been in ongoing communication with his office since then. So far, the Congressman has yet to commit to this interview," a spokeswoman said. "However, in light of his promise to sit down for an interview with Ben in the courtroom before being sentenced on June 12, we fully expect the Congressman to be a man of his word."
Hall, Gianforte's spokesman, said: "We've offered times for Ben to sit down with Greg in September."
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