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Montana Congressman-Elect Greg Gianforte Pleads Guilty to Body-Slamming Reporter

He will not serve any time in jail despite guilty plea

Montana Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter and was sentenced to community service and anger management, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

He will not serve any time in jail after being accused of “body slamming” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs last month. Then-candidate Gianforte was cited on May 24 after Jacobs reported that Gianforte had assaulted him at the Republican’s campaign headquarters less than 24 hours before a special election to replace outgoing Representative and fellow Republican Ryan Zinke.

“I grabbed his wrist. A scuffle ensued and he was injured, as I understand it… It was not my intention to hurt him,” Gianforte told the judge, according to the Chronicle.

The judge called the actions “totally unacceptable.” Gianforte was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault in Gallatin County Justice Court.

He must complete his community service by Nov. 28 and can have the charge dismissed if he behaves for six months, the paper reported.

“I have asked questions of hundreds of politicians: congressmen, senators and even the man who is now our president,” Jacobs said on the witness stand, according to the paper. “Mr. Gianforte’s response was to slam me to the floor and start punching me.”

Gianforte had paid Jacobs $4,464.97 in restitution as part of the criminal charge, according to the paper.

Following the incident, every major newspaper in Montana withdrew their endorsements of Gianforte and the incident was condemned on the national stage. However, the tech executive was already the heavy favorite to win in the Republican stronghold state, where early voting had been underway since May 1.

Voters ultimately did not shift their support to his opponent, Democrat Rob Quist.

Gianforte was declared winner with 50.7 percent of the vote to Quist’s 43.4 percent, according to The New York Times.