Montana House candidate charged with assault of reporter; newspapers pull endorsements – Chicago Tribune

Thursday’s nationally-watched election for Montana’s sole congressional seat got a last-minute twist when the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault for grabbing a reporter by the neck and throwing him to the ground.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin made the announcement shortly before midnight Wednesday in a written statement, about six hours after the attack on reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian. Gianforte would face a maximum $500 fine or 6 months in jail if convicted. The statement added that Jacobs’ injuries did not meet the legal definition of felony assault.

Gianforte was in a private office preparing for an interview with Fox News when Jacobs came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said.

The Fox News crew watched in astonishment as, after Jacobs pressed him on the GOP health care bill, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna wrote in an article on FoxNews.com. She added that Gianforte then began to punch Jacobs.

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