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Greg Gianforte to donate $50,000 to settle body-slamming case

The newly elected congressman from Montana issued a public and unequivocal apology Wednesday to the reporter whom he body-slammed on election eve.

In the letter, Greg Gianforte also promised to donate $ 50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, explaining that his attack on Ben Jacobs of the Guardian was an unjustified assault on a reporter who was just doing his job and “in the hope that perhaps some good can come of these events.”

“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful,” wrote Mr, Gianforte, Montana Republican. “As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.”

The May 24 incident, which was caught on audio tape and witnessed by two other teams of journalists, had Mr. Gianforte react to persistent questions from Mr. Jacobs about the Obamacare-replacement bill.

The candidate pushed Mr. Jacobs to the ground, punched him and broke his glasses. The broken spectacles are being donated at the Newseum.

The Gianforte campaign initially blamed Mr. Jacobs for the altercation, and he won the special U.S. House election the next day.

Though Mr. Gianforte faces criminal assault charges, the apology and donation ends any civil claims Mr. Jacobs may make against the newly-minted congressman, the Guardian reported.

“I have accepted Mr Gianforte’s apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements,” Mr. Jacobs said in a statement reported by the liberal British newspaper. “I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the first amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country.”

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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