Gianforte expected to appear in court Monday on assault citation

The Latest: Gianforte requests Monday court appearance

Greg Gianforte Issues A Formal Apology Letter To The Reporter He Body Slammed

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Rep. -elect Greg Gianforte of Montana will plead guilty to assaulting a reporter the day before being elected the state's only congressman last month, a prosecutor said Friday.

Jacobs signed a release foregoing a civil lawsuit and agreed not to object if Gianforte pleaded no contest to the criminal charges.

When Greg Gianforte bodily assaulted a Guardian reporter the night before he was elected to the House of Representatives, it was one more incident in an especially virulent run of active GOP hostility against the press-or, at least, the non-conservative press.

On Wednesday, Gianforte, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in November, issued a formal apology in which he took full responsibility for "body slamming" Jacobs after he asked him a question about the Republican healthcare policy.

The congressman later apologized to Jacobs and pledged to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes freedom of the press around the world.

This contradicts a statement made by Gianforte's spokesperson Shane Scanlon, who on the night of the incident claimed it was Jacobs who started the physical interaction between the two.

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Jacobs was in the room with the crew when he approached Gianforte with a voice recorder to ask him a question about the Republican healthcare plan.

"He is not going to be entering a nolo contendere plea", Lambert said. Misdemeanor assault carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or six month jail sentence.

Gianforte is expected to be sentenced on Monday.

Gianforte is scheduled to appear in a Montana court on June 20th on the misdemeanor assault charge.

That set off a short and intense special election campaign that drew millions of dollars in donations from across the U.S. "Ben Jacobs. Ben has accepted my apology and we are both ready to move on".

Gianforte issued a direct apology to Jacobs, writing in a letter that the "physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful".

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Gianforte was charged later that night and emerged the victor in the contested election the next day.

Jacobs says he hopes the episode will reinforce respect for freedom of the press and encourage more civil discourse. I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety this has created for you [expression of regret].

"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it", Gianforte said the next day during his victory speech.

A no contest plea would allow Gianforte to concede to the offence without entering a guilty plea.

"I have accepted Mr. Gianforte's apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements", Jacobs said in a statement.

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