Gianforte pleads guilty, sentenced to anger management - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Gianforte pleads guilty, sentenced to anger management

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BOZEMAN -

After a two week delayCongressman-elect Greg Gianforte made his appearance in court Monday morning for his misdemeanor assault charges against Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

Judge Rick West first announced a sentence of six months deferred sentence and four days in jail -- two of those days to be on the work program -- and a $300 fine. 

"I think jail time would be appropriate," the judge told Gianforte. Although a congressman, Judge West says this is a standard sentence for anyone with these charges and that Gianforte will not get special treatment. 

Then Gianforte's congressional obligations came into play, and the congressman was declared "not eligible for jail." Judge West changed his sentence to 180 days deferred sentence, no jail, 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management. 

"I think this is something you will enjoy and I think the community will benefit," the judge said. "We could all use some growth and use help with anger management classes. My intent is for you to grow." 

West ordered that Gianforte must be booked and immediately released from jail.

Prior to the judge's sentence, Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert gave his recommendation for sentencing to be six months deferred sentence with a $500 fine and $85 in fees. Lambert took into account Jacobs' character as well as Gianforte's lack of prior offensives for the recommendation. He said that the hardest part for Jacobs "was the fiction Gianforte" put out after the incident.

After the altercation, Gianforte's campaign sent out a statement claiming that Jacobs grabbed the congressman. In the following weeks Gianforte stated that the reporter didn't touch him. During Gianforte's impromptu press conference Monday, we attempted to ask why this fabricated statement was made. The conference ended before we could receive an answer. 

When Jacobs took the stand he recounted the full events of the assault and said that he has accepted Gianforte's apology. He said that hopes that Gianforte becomes an advocate for the free press and would like to interview him at Capitol Hill. 

Later the congressman said "if and when" Jacobs his ready, that he looks forward to sitting down and talking with the reporter. 

While Gianforte paid his fines, we caught up with Attorney Lambert. 

He believes the sentence was good for both parties and the state. Lambert also agreed with the Judge West's decision to pull jail time off the table. 

"I think that assault is aberrant behavior that will not be repeated on his part." He added that he didn't think anger management was necessary either, but that it was the judge's call. 

Gianforte didn't answer our question of if he agrees with the anger management sentence, but said he's happy to have this over with and to get to work in Washington. 

The DCCC spokesperson Drew Godinich issued the following statement: 

“Serving our fellow citizens as an elected leader should be one of the highest honors in our democracy. Now that Greg Gianforte has pleaded guilty to this heinous violent assault, he has shown himself to be absolutely unfit for and unworthy of the honor of representing Montana in Congress. He should decline to take the oath of office.”

With the judge's decision finalized, Gianforte has until Nov. 28 to do his community service.

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