GOP Candidate Allegedly Body Slams Reporter


( 4UMF NEWS ) GOP Candidate Allegedly Body Slams Reporter:

Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly body slammed a reporter covering the special election Wednesday.

"Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault (MCA 45-5-201). The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault," Sheriff Brian Gootkin said in press release . "Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court between now and June 7, 2017."

“Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted.

Jacobs can be heard in an audio clip posted by The Guardian asking Gianforte for his response on the Congressional Budget Office score. "We'll talk to you about that later," the candidate said.

The reporter kept pressing him and Gianforte insisted he speak with his aide. What came next was loud noise in the background.

"I'm sick and tired of you guys," Gianforte shouted. "The last guy that came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!"

Jacobs told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that he landed on his elbow during the altercation and is going to get it checked out.

“Next thing I know I’m being body slammed and he’s on top of me for a second, my glasses are broken,” he said. “It was the strangest moment of my entire time reporting.”

Guardian U.S. editor Lee Glendinning defended Jacobs.

“The Guardian is deeply appalled by how our reporter, Ben Jacobs, was treated in the course of doing his job as a journalist while reporting on the Montana special election,” Glendinning said in a statement . “We are committed to holding power to account and we stand by Ben Jacobs and our team of reporters for the questions they ask and the reporting that is produced.”

One reporter confirmed Jacobs' account saying she hasn’t “seen anything like this before.”

BuzzFeed News reporter Alex Levinson said Jacobs walked into a room where a local television station was setting up for an interview with Gianforte.

“All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben's feet fly in the air as he hit the floor,” she tweeted.

“Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) — sounded like Gianforte,” she continued.

Other reporters at the scene say the authorities and medics have gotten involved.

“Gallatin Co Sheriff's Office on scene after @Bencjacobs reported being assaulted by Greg Gianforte. Medics on scene as well,” Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Whitney Bermes tweeted.

Gootkin said at a press conference Wednesday night that deputies responded to Gianforte’s campaign headquarters around 5 p.m. and spoke with him briefly. Witnesses including the alleged victim, who was released from the hospital, were being interviewed, the sheriff said.

Gootkin donated $250 to Gianforte's campaign in March, according to a filing from the Federal Election Commission . The sheriff admitted to making this contribution in a press release, adding "has nothing to do with our investigation which is now complete."

The candidate and his aides went into a room and stayed there for about 10 minutes before heading to a vehicle and driving away, Levinson said in a series of tweets.

The Republican candidate is running against Democrat Rob Quist , a bluegrass musician, for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s seat. Voters will head to the ballots on Thursday.

Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon released a statement saying Jacobs, who was referred to as a "liberal journalist," entered the room without permission and "aggressively shoved" a recorder in Gianforte's face while asking questions before being told to leave.

"After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground," Scanlon said.

"It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ," he added.

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna and two producers were scheduled for interviews with Gianforte and Quist on the eve of the election. They watched in disbelief as the incident unfolded, according to a Fox News report.

"Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him," the report says. "Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of 'I'm sick and tired of this!'"

"To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff's deputies," Acuna wrote, adding that she and her team are cooperating with authorities.

Montana newspapers The Missoulian and the Billings Gazette have both rescinded their endorsement of Gianforte.

Montana newspaper The Missoulian has since rescinded their endorsement of Gianforte.

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