Gianforte Avoids Jail Time For Assaulting Reporter; Sentenced to Fine, Counseling

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jun 12, 2017 2:50 PM
Gianforte Avoids Jail Time For Assaulting Reporter; Sentenced to Fine, Counseling

Representative-elect Greg Gianforte (R-MT) will not face jail time for assaulting a reporter on the eve of the Montana special election. On Monday, he was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, a $385 fine, 40 hours of community service, and 20 hours of anger management counseling.

Initially, he was sentenced to spend four days in jail, but that was changed after it was realized that he was in fact not eligible for a work program due to the assault charge. The judge then changed his mind and adjusted the sentence.

Gianforte announced on Friday that he would plead guilty to misdemeanor assault for "body-slamming" The Guardian's Ben Jacobs. Jacobs had asked Gianforte about a CBO score, which triggered the "body-slam." Jacobs' glasses were broken in the scuffle. Gianforte eventually apologized to Jacobs and made a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In Montana, misdemeanor assault is punishable with up to a year in jail. Gianforte reportedly paid his fine on Monday, shortly after sentencing.

He will be sworn into Congress later in June.