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Monday, 12 June 2017

US Congressman gets 40 hour community service sentence for punching a reporter

Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte was sentenced to community service, a $385 fine and 20 hours of sessions for anger management after pleading guilty to assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of his election.

In a courtroom packed with journalists and spectators in Bozeman, Montana, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, saying, “Although it was not my intention to hurt him, I understand Ben was injured.”




After judge Rick West repeatedly asked Gianforte whether he believed he caused injury to Jacobs, the congressman-elect said he did.

The Judge initially said he would sentence him to four days in jail, saying he could do a work program as an alternative to spending those nights in jail.

But when the judge learned that the assault charge was not eligible for the program, he decided to instead sentence him to 40 hours of community service, emphasizing that he did not want the congressman-elect to go to jail since he has apologized.

The sentencing comes a week after Gianforte reached a settlement with Jacobs in which the Republican apologised to the reporter and agreed to pay $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In a letter to Jacobs, Gianforte wrote his “physical response” to the Guardian reporter’s “legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful”.

“I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness,” he added.




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