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Reporter Blasts Gianforte for 'Refusing' Promised Sit-Down

Image: Reporter Blasts Gianforte for 'Refusing' Promised Sit-Down
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 30 August 2017 12:11 PM

The U.S. congressman who pleaded guilty to assault for body-slamming a journalist has reportedly failed to honor a promise made in court to give his victim a one-on-one interview.

Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, says Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, isn't living up to the agreement he made after copping to misdemeanor assault and telling Jacobs, "I'm sorry, and if and when you're ready, I look forward to sitting down with you in D.C."

"Gianforte continues his pattern of avoiding responsibility for his actions and refusing to live up to the statements made in what I had thought was a sincere apology," Jacobs said in an email to Gianforte's communications director Travis Hall, The Guardian reports.

In a civil settlement, the Republican politician made a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists and apologized to Jacobs, who his office first claimed had "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions."

That claim was shot down by a Fox News team which witnessed the incident, with reporter Alicia Acuna explaining, "Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. [We] watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter … yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this!" Jacobs' glasses were broken during the attack.

In his email to Gianforte's communications director, Jacobs also said, "He has refused to explain why he slandered me, he unsuccessfully tried to avoid pleading guilty to a physical attack against me and he also unsuccessfully fought a legal battle to avoid the mild inconvenience of having a mugshot taken."

Gianforte's office strenuously denied the politician has been stalling.

"As he has since June, Congressman Gianforte has offered to sit down with Mr. Jacobs. For anyone to suggest otherwise is false," a spokesman told the Guardian.

"We have been honest brokers in our efforts to arrange for Mr. Jacobs to sit down with the congressman, including providing Mr. Jacobs with possible dates and times for a meeting and asking what Montana beers the congressman could bring for Mr. Jacobs when they meet.

"Mr. Jacobs has yet to either accept or decline our offer. Congressman Gianforte's offer to Mr. Jacobs remains on the table."

The assault occurred when Jacobs approached Gianforte during his successful congressional campaign to ask his opinion on a controversial Republican healthcare bill.

President Donald Trump later praised Gianforte's victory, calling his triumph in a special Montana election — a day after being charged with the assault — "a great win."

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The U.S. congressman who pleaded guilty to assault for body-slamming a journalist has reportedly failed to honor a promise made in court to give his victim a one-on-one interview.
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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 12:11 PM
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