Gianforte ordered photographed, fingerprinted for assault of reporter
Republican Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte has been ordered to be photographed and fingerprinted for assaulting a reporter in May — opening the door for the congressman’s mugshot to be plastered in opponents’ campaign ads in next year’s election.
Justice Court Judge Rick West on Monday ordered the Montana Gianforte to report to the Gallatin County Detention Center to be booked for the assault charge by Sept. 15.
Gianforte had argued that he should not have to be photographed and fingerprinted because he never formally was arrested for attacking Ben Jacobs when The Guardian reporter tried to ask him a question about health care.
Jacobs said then that Gianforte “body slammed” him and broke his glasses.
Fox News reporters witnessed the incident on May 24. Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him to the ground behind him, then started punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”
Prosecutors filed the misdemeanor assault charge later that day.
The day after the assault, Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist in the special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as Montana’s only congressman.
Gianforte pleaded guilty in June.
However, the congressman contested the judge’s original order then that he be booked, fingerprinted and photographed. His attorneys said a justice court judge does not have authority to order a defendant to be photographed or fingerprinted, and that Gianforte is exempt because he was charged with a misdemeanor, not a felony.
West said in his order, signed on Friday, that the Court has authority to order fingerprinting and photographing. If Gianforte doesn’t comply by Sept. 15, he will be in contempt of court, West wrote.
Gianforte spokesman Travis Hall did not immediately return calls or emails for comment to Fox News.
Gianforte was fined $385 and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counseling. He also apologized to Jacobs and gave $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The congressman plans to work off his community service sentence with a Bozeman organization that builds custom wheelchairs for children.
Fox News’ Alicia Acuna and The Associated Press contributed to this report.