Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Gianforte to plead guilty to assault charge

Gianforte to plead guilty to assault charge Gianforte to plead guilty to assault charge
Roland Mccarthy | 10 June, 2017, 09:16

The events referred to an encounter on May 24, when Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault after Jacobs accused the politician of "body slamming" him at a campaign event.

On Wednesday, Gianforte and Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs reached a civil settlement that included Jacobs agreeing not to object to Gianforte pleading no contest to the criminal charge.

Gianforte said he is making a $50,000 contribution to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit that promotes press freedom and protects the rights of journalists worldwide. As both a candidate for Office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public.

Gross said that though some have raised concerns that Gianforte was getting special treatment because of his status as a wealthy businessman and congressman-elect, she has seen zero evidence that's the case.

A judge can consider Gianforte's apology to Jacobs as well as his donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists when considering sentencing, Gross said.

"I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the First Amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country", Jacobs said.

In the meantime, according to the Chronicle, Gianforte is still due to appear in Gallatin County Court to address his misdemeanor charge. The charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Gianforte is expected to be sworn in next month after defeating Democrat Rob Quist in the special congressional election to serve the remainder of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's term.

"I write to express my honest apology for my conduct on the evening of May 24", Gianforte wrote to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

Gianforte yelled, "Get the hell out of here", and "I'm sick and exhausted of you guys", during the altercation, an audio recording of the incident shows.

Audio of the encounter taken by Jacobs recorded sounds of a scuffle, followed by Gianforte yelling for the reporter to "get the hell out of here". The last time you came in here you did the same thing! Immediately after the body-slamming incident, Scanlon blamed Jacobs for initiating the altercation. The assault occurred in a room with a local TV news crew.

A spokesman for Gianforte issued a statement saying Jacobs, brandishing a cellphone, interrupted an interview and badgered the candidate with questions, and that Gianforte reacted by attempting "to grab the phone that was pushed in his face".

Gianforte earned riches as a technology entrepreneur with his company, RightNow Technologies, which he sold in 2011 to Oracle for about $1.5 billion.

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