Montana’s Gianforte avoids jail time for reporter assault

FILE - In this March 6, 2017, file photo, Greg Gianforte, right, receives congratulations from a supporter in Helena, Mont. Montana voters are heading to the polls Thursday, May 25, 2017, to decide a nationally watched congressional election amid uncertainty in Washington over President Donald Trump's agenda and his handling of the country's affairs. (AP Photo/Matt Volz, File)

 

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s next congressman, Greg Gianforte, has been given a 180-day deferred jail sentence after the Republican technology entrepreneur pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter on the eve of his election last month.

Justice of the Peace Rick West sentenced Gianforte on Monday for the misdemeanor, ordering him to complete 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management counseling and pay a $385 fine.

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs says Gianforte “body slammed” him when he tried to ask the candidate for the state’s sole U.S. House seat a question on May 24.

Jacobs agreed not to sue Gianforte in exchange for the politician writing a letter of apology and donating $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Gianforte is expected to be sworn in to office later this month.

 

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