Montana Republican Greg Gianforte Faces Assault Citation as Voters Head to Polls

Use quotes to search for exact phrases. Use AND/OR/NOT between keywords or phrases for more precise search results.

News Politics

Montana Republican Greg Gianforte Faces Assault Citation as Voters Head to Polls

Ally Boguhn

A journalist said Greg Gianforte “body slammed” him after he attempted to ask the candidate a question about House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act repeal efforts.

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was cited with a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly assaulted a journalist Wednesday on the eve of the tight race to fill Montana’s single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs said Wednesday that Gianforte “body slammed” him after he attempted to ask the candidate a question about House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act repeal efforts. “He took me to the ground,” Jacobs told the Guardian. “I think he wailed on me once or twice …. He got on me and I think he hit me.”

Jacobs’ account was corroborated by audio of the incident and by Fox News reporters who were present. Reporter Alicia Acuna published her account of what she and her crew witnessed Wednesday night, alleging that Gianforte “grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him” and “began punching the reporter.”

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement that night saying “there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault.” If convicted, he would face a fine of up to $500, “or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both.” In the statement, Sheriff Brian Gootkin disclosed that he had personally donated $250 to Gianforte but said the “contribution has nothing to do with our investigation which is now complete.”

Roe has collapsed and Texas is in chaos.

Stay up to date with The Fallout, a newsletter from our expert journalists.

SUBSCRIBE

News publications in Montana pulled their endorsements of Gianforte, who lost his gubernatorial bid in November. The outlets’ decisions came the same day a report from the Intercept pointed out that the state’s three biggest newspapers—the Missoulian, the Helena Independent Record, and the Billings Gazette—“all share a single owner, the Iowa-based Lee Enterprises, whose board is stacked with Republican donors.” The papers made their endorsements on the same day and have since retracted them in light of the alleged assault.

“In no way would we want our readers or our community to believe we stood behind what appears to be an assault or an attack,” the Billings Gazette editorial board said. “We do not, and we do not endorse Gianforte.”

The Independent Record said in its endorsement retraction that “In the past, [Gianforte] has encouraged his supporters to boycott certain newspapers, singled out a reporter in a room to point out that he was outnumbered, and even made a joke out of the notion of choking a news writer, and these are not things we can continue to brush off.”

Gianforte’s family foundation has donated millions to anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ causes. He has funded candidates with anti-government views and ties to white nationalism. 

The impact Gianforte’s assault charge will have on the Thursday election is unclear. A significant number of Montana voters had already cast their ballots before election day.