Montana's Gianforte avoids jail time for reporter assault

"I think this matter will be concluded on Monday", Lambert said.

Gianforte is expected to travel to Washington within the next few weeks to be sworn in by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The judge, for whatever reason, reportedly change the sentence within minutes to specify community service instead of jail time.

"It is appalling that the hostile anti-press rhetoric being used at various levels of the USA government has now escalated to physical violence against a journalist who simply asked a question", Margaux Ewen of Reporters Without Borders said. Gianforte also issued an apology and said he'd donate $50,000 to a journalism nonprofit organization.

Jacobs said in a statement that he accepts the apology and hopes the incident reinforces the importance of respecting the freedom of the press.

"I was just doing my job", Jacobs said.

The congressman-elect attended a courtroom Monday that was packed with reporters.

The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

"I grabbed for (Jacobs') wrist". "In the scuffle we fell on the floor, and I understand his elbow was injured". However, he did not recount what exactly happened between him and Jacobs even after the judge pressed him. "But has to do 40 hours of community service, 20 hours anger management". Neither Gianforte nor his staff have clarified why a false statement was sent out after the assault. Work programs, which cut the time of a sentence in half, are not an option in assault cases, however.

Gianforte, a Republican, won the election the next day and apologized to the reporter during his acceptance speech. "It was not my intention to hurt him", Gianforte told the judge, according to the Chronicle. The latter statement appeared to be a rebuttal of claims made earlier by Gianforte's campaign that the Guardian reporter had sparked the incident. The journalist was taken to the hospital to be examined.

Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert says Gianforte's offense didn't end there.

I won't name any names because publicity is their mother's milk, but you can look them up online.

The incident was captured on audio tape. "My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful". "The last guy who came in here you did the same thing".

Another said "Paid for and paid off by Greg Gianforte. The guy absolutely needs help with his anger problems but I guess I'm okay with the sentencing". Gianforte then yelled "Get the hell out of here". "I'm excited to get to work".

The assault occurred at a campaign event in Bozeman on the evening before the May 25 election. In return, Jacobs pledged not to sue him.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault but went on to win the election amid calls to withdraw his candidacy. "I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that I'm sorry".

Nearly immediately after the sentence was publicized, opposing political groups weighed in.

With the numerous comments coming in ABC FOX Montana wanted to hear what people had to say in downtown Bozeman. "They do not need a criminal".

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