GOP hopeful charged with misdemeanor assault


A reporter said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat body-slammed him Wednesday, the day before the polls close in the nationally watched special election.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office issued a press release regarding the incident that occurred earlier in the evening at a Gianforte campaign volunteer barbecue in Bozeman, Montana.

But even that doesn't explain the allegedly freaky behavior of Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, who late Wednesday was cited with assaulting a reporter.

The sheriff's office said that if convicted, aspiring lawmaker Gianforte could be "fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both", if convicted.

NBC News reports that last month, Jacobs reported that Gianforte owns about $250,000 in shares in two index funds that have investments in Russian companies that are under United States sanction.

When Jacobs asks for the names of those present, saying he would go to the police, he is told, "you gotta leave".

Fox reporter Alicia Acuna says after Jacobs asked Gianforte a question about the American Health Care Act, the candidate "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him".

Acuna said that after Jacobs left "Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized". Are you with the Guardian?'

Jacobs had entered the room to confront Gianforte with the numbers, which showed that thousands of people in Montana would lose healthcare coverage, it said.

In the audio, Gianforte yelled at Jacobs, telling him to "get the hell out of here" and saying he was "sick and exhausted of you guys".

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"Yes and you just broke my glasses", Jacobs replied.

According to Jacobs, Gianforte attacked him during an exchange over the latter's support for a partial repeal of former US president Barack Obama's socialized medicine law.

"I'm sick and exhausted of you guys".

Thursday's special election pits Gianforte against Democrat Rob Quist in a contest to replace former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke, who is now heading President Trump's Interior Department.

A candidate in a United States congressional election has been charged with misdemeanor assault for grabbing a reporter by the neck and throwing him to the ground.

Ben Jacobs says he was just trying to ask a simple question. The campaign added "Greg then attempted to grab the phone" before Jacobs was injured in an ensuing scuffle, a seeming admission Gianforte started the physical confrontation. Gianforte's campaign has since claimed "aggressive behavior" by Jacobs caused the incident.

"You just body slammed me and broke my glasses", Jacobs said.

Alexis Levinson, a reporter for BuzzFeed News, wrote on Twitter that she was nearby and witnessed and heard some of what happened. She tweeted that she "heard a giant crash and saw Ben's feet fly in the air" and that she heard angry yelling that sounded like Gianforte.

Yet eyewitness accounts from several Fox News reporters contradict Gianforte's story.