The Republican candidate for the state of Montana’s congressional seat was late Wednesday charged with misdemeanour assault after he allegedly “body-slammed” a journalist from the Guardian, the Gallatin County sheriff’s office said.
Reporter Ben Jacobs had earlier posted an audio recording of the alleged assault, in which technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte can be heard shouting “I’m sick and tired of you guys! … Get the hell out of here!”
There are the sounds of a scuffle and Jacobs can be heard saying, “You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.”
The incident took place at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Bozeman on Wednesday.
Alicia Acuna, a reporter from Fox News who witnessed the incident, wrote that when Jacobs repeatedly asked the Republican a question, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.”
“I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’” she wrote.
A statement from Gianforte’s campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon quoted by the Guardian said Jacobs had provoked the Republican candidate.
“[Jacobs] entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions,” Scanlon said.
Gallatin County sheriff’s office said Gianforte had received a citation and was scheduled to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court “between now and June 7.”