Greg Gianforte, he of reporter-body-slamming-fame, is taking every step possible to move on from his unfortunate infamous moment of aggression. The Montana election winner who made national news for assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs has taken a trifecta of steps toward closing the book on the entire ordeal: He’s issued an apology letter to Jacobs, pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor assault charges in relation to the incident, and pledged a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The now-notorious incident saw Gianforte fly off the handle when asked about the new CBO score of the Republican healthcare plan. Gianforte quickly took exception to Jacobs’ question, and by all witness accounts, followed up his body slam of Jacobs with a few blows, breaking Jacobs’ glasses in the process. Those glasses now sit in The Newseum, a museum in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to moments in journalism history.
Gianforte’s apology letter made it clear, as does his pleading of no contest in the matter, that he fully understands his actions during confrontation were inappropriate for a politician at best, and criminal at the very worst, per CNN:
“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. As both a candidate for Office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.”
For his part, Jacobs released a statement in which he accepts Gianforte’s apology, adding his hope that the incident will be a learning experience for everyone involved, via the CNN report:
“I have accepted Mr. Gianforte’s apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements,” he (Jacobs) said in a statement. “I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the First Amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country.”
Gianforte is scheduled to appear in a Montana court on June 20th on the misdemeanor assault charge.