Montana congressional candidate accused of assault

Henrietta Strickland
May 25, 2017

(AP Photo/Matt Volz, File).

The Montana polls close Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin told the press that Jacobs had been taken to the hospital and later released.

"The Trump train is chugging along in Montana", Gianforte said.

The maximum penalty if convicted of the assault charge is a $500 fine and 6 months in jail.

Sheriff Gootkin said four witnesses are being interviewed, in addition to Jacobs, in relation to the incident.

Fox News reporters who were on scene painted a very different picture than Scanlon. It's an nearly instant turnaround before polls close Thursday evening.

The committee said it will spend "the maximum amount of money allowable" behind ads targeting the state's Democrats.

But a reporter with a Fox News television crew preparing to interview Gianforte said that Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck, slammed him to the ground and then began punching him.

Gianforte, a businessman who made millions when he sold his tech company to Oracle, recently welcomed Donald Trump Jr.at his campaign event.

The Sheriff's Office said the timing of the election will not influence the speed of the investigation.

The Guardian is a British liberal newspaper that opened a USA edition 10 years ago.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle first reported the incident, which occurred Wednesday at a campaign event in Bozeman. In the recording, Jacobs attempts to ask Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the Republican-backed American Health Care Act.

In an interview on MSNBC Wednesday evening, Jacobs elaborated, saying that he had "been pressing the campaign for a few days to grab Gianforte one-on-one" and after being rebuked, attempted to ask about the CBO score "while he was just standing around".

"Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, the Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions".

Authorities say they're investigating allegations of assault.

Prior to Wednesday's altercation, University of Montana political science professor Rob Saldin said Quist's best shot hinges on a big Democratic turnout combined with low enthusiasm from Republican voters.

But the House Democratic campaign arm quickly seized on the episode, calling on Gianforte to "immediately withdraw" from the race.

According to Jacobs, Gianforte walked out of the event without speaking and drove away with his aides.

When Jacobs attempts to ask another question, there is a loud crashing sound on the recording, followed by Gianforte yelling: "I'm sick and exhausted of you guys".

He says Gianforte tried to grab the phone being used as an audio recorder.

The alleged altercation took place at the politician's campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, on the eve of the state's special election. Its U.S. editor, Lee Glendenning, said in a statement: "The Guardian is deeply appalled by how our reporter, Ben Jacobs, was treated in the course of doing his job as a journalist while reporting on the Montana special election".

In audio of the incident posted by the Guardian Gianforte can clearly be heard getting upset. Gianforte says. "The last guy that came in here did the same thing".

In an era of extreme congressional partisanship, toeholds like the Montana seat are valuable ground for both Republicans and Democrats.

The wild card is Libertarian Mark Wicks who could upend the political ambitions of his competitors. But on the same day, in a recorded phone call to party backers that was leaked to the New York Times, Gianforte said he was "thankful" that it passed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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