Gianforte To Appear In Court Monday

Aislinn Murphy Fact Check Editor
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Republican Montana Rep.-elect Greg Pianoforte will enter a plea on Monday to the charge against him for assaulting a reporter, Roll Call reports.

Gianforte is charged with misdemeanor assault for body-slamming and breaking the glasses of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of Montana’s US House special election last month. Jacobs wastrying to ask Gianforte questions about the healthcare bill in Congress.

The next day, Gianforte beat Democrat Rob Quist to replace the seat left empty by Rep. Ryan Zinke’s appointment to Secretary of the Interior.

The congressman later apologized to Jacobs and pledged to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes freedom of the press around the world.

“I have accepted Mr. Gianforte’s apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements,” Jacobs said in a statement. “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.”

Although Gianforte has not commented on how he will plea, his request to hold the sentencing at the same time as the arraignment suggests a plea of no contest. If convicted, Gianforte could spend up to six months in prison.

Gianforte will get sworn into Congress later this month.