Montana GOP candidate allegedly ‘body slams’ reporter

Greg Gianforte

Helena, Mont. (CNN Newsource) – Less than a day before voters head to the polls in Montana to fill the Congressional vacated seat of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, one of the candidates in the race allegedly assaulted a reporter at his campaign headquarters.

The incident was caught on audio tape.

An estimated seven out of ten voters have already cast absentee ballots, but it remains to be seen if the altercation will have an impact on the race.

Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault for allegedly body slamming a reporter.

It happened as the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs was asking Gianforte about the GOP healthcare plan.

Gianforte: “Talk to you about that later.”

Reporter: “Yeah, but there’s not going to be time.”

Gianforte: “Speak with Shane, please.”

[Sounds of struggle]

Gianforte: “I’m sick and tired of you guys. last time you did the same thing, are you with the Guardian?”

Reporter: “Yes, and you just broke my glasses. You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.”

Gianforte: “Get the hell out of here.”

Reporter: “You’d like me to get out of here and I also would like to call the police.”
Gianforte’s campaign says Jacobs entered the office without permission, shoved a recorder in the candidate’s face, and asked badgering questions.

A campaign statement read in part, “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.”

But eye witness accounts contradicted that version of events.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said four witnesses were being interviewed.

Gootkin acknowledged that he made a one-time donation to Gianforte’s campaign earlier this year but that that will have no bearing on the case.

The incident took place one day before a special election.

Gianforte, who has enjoyed the support of President Trump and Trump’s family, is running against Democrat Rob Quist.

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