Montana Republican congressman-elect Greg Gianforte learned his sentence in court Monday morning after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor assault of The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in a May 24 incident at Gianforte's campaign headquarters.
During the altercation, Jacobs asked Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office's scoring of the Republican-backed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Jacobs had asked Gianforte to respond to the nonpartisan office's prediction that the bill would leave 23 million people without health insurance before things quickly escalated.
An audio recording of the incident captured a loud scuffle, after which Jacobs accused Gianforte of "body slamming" him.
“I’m sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here did the same thing! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing!” Gianforte can be heard yelling in the recording.
Seconds after the altercation, Jacobs can be heard telling Gianforte, "You just body slammed me and broke my glasses." Jacobs tweeted the accusation that night.
“Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Gianforte wrote.
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses— Ben Jacobs (@Ben Jacobs)1495667198.0
Gianforte initially denied the allegation, which came just hours before Montana voters would head to the polls in a special election to replace Ryan Zinke, whom President Donald Trump nominated to become interior secretary.
But Gianforte's version of events were in stark contrast to what the audio recording seemed to have captured. Gianforte later apologized to Jacobs — but only after Gianforte had already been elected to Congress.
“Last night, I made a mistake. I took an action that I can’t take back. And I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did. And for that I'm sorry," Gianforte told supporters the night of May 25.
Gianforte pleaded guilty Monday morning to one count of misdemeanor assault, which, according to Montana law, carries a maximum sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
"The Republican congressman-to-be, however, got off with a much lighter punishment," CNN reported.
Judge Rick West ordered Gianforte to complete 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management classes, and to pay a $300 fine. West also directed Gianforte to pay the $85 court fee.