"I don’t think it’s going to happen Monday or Wednesday of next week," Lambert says.
Gianforte, Montana’s congressman-elect, was charged with misdemeanor assault May 24, one day before polls opened in the special election for Montana’s U.S. House seat.
He has since apologized for a physical altercation with Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper. Published eyewitness statements back up Jacobs’ account that Gianforte attacked him.
At the time Gianforte was charged, he was given until next Wednesday, June 7 to appear in court. He has so far passed up two opportunities to do so. The court only hears such charges on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
County Attorney Lambert says he’s working with Gianforte’s attorney and Jacobs to find a court date that works for all parties, and that a motion could be filed soon to extend the timeline beyond the original June 7 date. Lambert says these kinds of time extensions happen often.
"We’ll need to put our heads together, everybody who’s involved in the case, and try and come up with times to suggest to the judge," says Lambert.
Meanwhile, a national coalition of press groups is asking a congressional ethics panel to consider disciplinary measures against Gianforte.