Greg Gianforte: Montana Congressman settles Guardian reporter 'body-slam' with $50,000 donation

The Republican won the election, despite the incident

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 08 June 2017 13:44 BST
Audio appears to reveal GOP Congress candidate in alleged 'body slam' of Guardian reporter

A Republican congressman who was charged with assault after allegedly body slamming a reporter, has sent a letter of apology and offered to make a $50,000 donation to a journalism charity in order to settle the matter.

​Greg Gianforte, the Montana congressman-elect dispatched the letter and said he would be donating the money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a group that works to protect press freedom.

“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard,” the 56-year-old said in a letter to Ben Jacobs of the Guardian.

“I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

Mr Jacobs, who wrote about the incident in which his glasses were broken, said he hoped the issue had highlighted the importance of a free press.

Pelosi: Greg Gianforte showed he's a 'wannabe Trump' by body slamming reporter

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

“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.”

Mr Jacobs said he was slammed to the floor by Mr Gianforte on May 24 after he sought to interview the Republican, who was contesting a special election in the state. Mr Gianforte’s team initially defended his actions and said the reporter had pushed a voice recorder into the politicians face.

Very quickly, Mr Gianforte apologised and police charged him with assault.

He said he will plead no contest to the charge of assault.

Despite the encounter taking place on the eve of the election, Mr Gianforte, a businessman who made his money in technology, went on to win the contest.

Mr Gianforte is scheduled to appear in a Montana court on June 20 to face the assault charge.

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