Republican candidate in Montana race 'body-slams' reporter

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist, who declined to comment, are seeking to fill the state's seat in the U.S. House left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to join Trump's Cabinet as secretary of the Interior Department.

JT: Turning to the events in Montana, what does your research suggest will be the impact of the fact that it was Fox News that confirmed - and, indeed, even added more detail to - Jacobs's account of what happened?

Gianforte beat Democrat Rob Quist, a banjo player and first-time candidate who had focussed his campaign on criticism of the Republican effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's healthcare law. He faces a $500 fine and six months in jail if convicted, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office said.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, addressed the allegations against Gianforte in a statement. Witnesses, including a Fox News crew, said Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck and slammed him to the ground while yelling "Get the hell out of here!"

He continued to explain his mistake and then apologized to the reporter he allegedly assaulted.

A steady stream of people flowed into Lewis and Clark Library polling place in Helena, Montana, to vote on Thursday afternoon.

"We'll talk to you about that later", Gianforte says on the recording, referring Jacobs to a spokesman.

"That's his model, Donald Trump", Pelosi said of Greg Gianforte, the wealthy Republican running in Thursday's special election for Montana's sole House seat.




An audio clip of the conflict published by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle indicates reporter Ben Jacobs asked Mr. Gianforte for his thoughts on the American Health Care Act in light of the recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

On Wednesday night, Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault.

When asked if Gianforte should apologize to the reporter, the Hampsons said they wanted to see a video of the altercation and had only heard bits and pieces of what happened.

The incident garnered national news on Wednesday night, though Gianforte initially said that Jacobs had forced his way into a private room and began aggressively questioning the Republican candidate.

"It is unsettling on many levels that Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a journalist and then lied, refusing to take responsibility for his actions", he said in a statement.

We didn't watch any TV except at the beginning and end of our trip, when we stayed in a Billings motel, but we did see several Gianforte ads during our brief time there, and we got to read some of the press coverage.

- A Washington-based reporter from CQ Roll Call said he was pinned against the wall by security guards and forced to leave the Federal Communications Commission headquarters after he tried to question an FCC commissioner after a news conference. The winner's campaign initially said Jacobs was to blame for the altercation. Donald Trump. We've really got to say enough. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told an Associated Press reporter, "It's not appropriate behavior". Gianforte has been ordered to appear in court by June 7.

West Virginia reporter Dan Heyman was arrested on May 10 while trying to ask a question of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who later praised police for their handling of the situation. He's accused of grabbing Jacobs by the throat and throwing him to the ground in his campaign office Wednesday night. Quist eventually raised more than $6 million but struggled to come back from the early onslaught of negative publicity and advertising.

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