What happened when Republican Greg Gianforte body-slammed a reporter

The incident happened when Gianforte was running for Congress.

October 19, 2018, 10:31 AM

A misdemeanor assault charge is something that most political candidates would like forgotten.

That could be the case for Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican running for re-election in Montana, who first garnered national headlines in May 2017 when he allegedly body-slammed a reporter.

The controversial move was appealing to President Donald Trump, apparently. He praised Gianforte at a rally on Thursday, saying, "Any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type!"

Here is a review of the incident in question and the legal actions that followed.

The initial incident

Reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian said he approached Gianforte, a former technology executive, at a meet-and-greet event at the candidate's office in Bozeman, Montana.

Jacobs allegedly went up to Gianforte to get his opinion on the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the American Health Care Act as he was preparing for a television interview. All of a sudden, Gianforte "seemed to just snap," Jacobs said.

"He grabbed my recorder, and next thing I knew, I'd gone from being vertical to horizontal on the floor," he told "GMA" shortly after the incident.

"He was on top of me and wailing on me," Jacobs added.

The Guardian posted an audio recording of the encounter. Gianforte can be heard saying, "We'll talk to you about that later" after Jacobs asks a question.

Jacobs asks again and Gianforte refers him to a spokesman. A scuffle ensues.

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

After the alleged incident, Jacobs wrote on Twitter, "Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses."

Legal repercussions

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault, according to the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office.

"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," the sheriff's office said in a statement on its website on May 24, 2017.

The statement added that the "nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault."

The Associated Press reported that Gianforte pleaded guilty in June 2017, paid a $385 fine, completed 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management training, wrote an apology letter and donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

ABC News' Meridith McGraw, Morgan Winsor, and Adam Kelsey contributed to this report.