U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) told police in May that a reporter from The Guardian grabbed his wrist during a physical altercation at his campaign headquarters, blaming the “liberal media” for “trying to make a story,” say documents released in Montana and reported by the Washington Post. His statement appears to contradict the apology he later issued to reporter Ben Jacobs, saying Jacobs “did not initiate any physical contact with me.” Gianforte won Montana’s lone U.S. House seat 24 hours after the assault. In June, he pleaded guilty to charges that he assaulted Jacobs and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management classes and a $385 fine in court costs.
Documents from Gallatin County law enforcement, made public for the first time Friday, provide more details about the incident on May 24, which was witnessed by other journalists and captured on audio. Gianforte had been preparing for an interview with Fox News when Jacobs came into the room and asked Gianforte to respond to the Congressional Budget Office score of the Affordable Care Act. In an ensuing physical altercation, Jacobs tweeted, “Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses.” Gianforte told police that when he reached out for the reported “grabbed my wrist, he spun, and we ended up on the floor.” Alicia Acuna of Fox News reported that “at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”