Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Lawyers For Assaulted Reporter Send Cease And Desist Letter To Gianforte

Rep. Greg Gianforte at his sentencing hearing in Bozeman, MT, Monday, June 12, 2017.
Louise Johns
Rep. Greg Gianforte at his sentencing hearing in Bozeman, MT, Monday, June 12, 2017.

Lawyers for the reporter assaulted by U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte on the eve of a special election last May sent the Republican a cease and desist letter Monday.

The letter demands Rep. Gianforte and members of his office stop making “false and defamatory statements” about Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

The congressman’s spokesperson, Travis Hall, recently told news outlets that Gianforte never misled police in the immediate aftermath of his assault on Jacobs, and anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken.

But according to documents released earlier this month, the congressman did indeed mislead investigators about the assault, saying the "liberal media" was trying to make a story and claiming Jacobs initiated physical contact.

“He grabbed my wrist, he spun, and we ended up on the floor. So he pulled me down on top of him,” Gianforte said in an audio recording from that initial investigation.

Multiple witnesses contradicted Gianforte’s account and said the then-Republican candidate initiated the assault and body-slammed the reporter. Gianforte later plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and admitted that he was the one who made physical contact first.

Cease and Desist Letter Sent to Rep. Greg Gianforte by Nate Hegyi on Scribd

University of Montana law professor Anthony Johnstone says the cease-and-desist letter is putting Gianforte’s team on notice. If they continue to say the congressman never misled investigators, it could lead to a potential civil lawsuit.

"For allegedly false statements by representative Gianforte or his office that damage the reputation of Mr. Jacobs who as a reporter trades on his truthfulness and reliability,” Johnstone says.

Representatives for Gianforte were unable to comment before deadline, and reporter Ben Jacobs refused to comment on the record.

Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content