Remember when that billionaire GOP congressional candidate from Montana body slammed a Guardian reporter and then went on to win the election the next day?
New records made public on Friday show that now U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte misled police about the incident last May, claiming that reporter Ben Jacobs initiated the attack. A court ordered the records to be released, including more than 100 pages of documents, photos, and audio from the investigation, the Associated Press reported.
Gianforte told police following the attack that Jacobs had grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him to the ground, and that the “liberal media” was “trying to make a story” out of it. The only problem with those statements was that there were multiple witnesses who contradicted it, and Gianforte eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.
From the AP report:
The documents include interviews with members of a Fox News crew who were in the room with Gianforte and Jacobs at the politician’s Bozeman campaign office. They said Gianforte became enraged over what he perceived as biased coverage before body-slamming Jacobs, throwing him to the ground and punching him…
Another worker said Gianforte and others on the campaign had been complaining earlier in the day about “duplicitous” campaign coverage by the Guardian and Buzzfeed.
Gianforte received a slap on the wrist for all of this, including a $385 fine, community service, and mandatory anger management classes. And at the end of the day, the lying, violent Republican billionaire was rewarded with a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The latest news of Gianforte’s dishonesty isn’t surprising. As The Guardian reported, Gianforte’s campaign spokesman, Shane Scanlon, also tried to blame Jacobs for the attack shortly after it happened. In a statement back in May, Scanlon made the same false claims that later showed up in Gianforte’s police report.
“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ,” Scanlon said at the time.
In June, Gianforte admitted that the claim that Jacobs initiated the attack was a lie. He also agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists. But that doesn’t mean any lessons were learned.
After the documents were made public on Friday, Gianforte’s spokesman, Travis Hall, told the AP in an emailed statement that, “No one was misled, and anyone who says otherwise is mistaken. Greg took responsibility for his actions and is focused on serving the people of Montana.”
By “no one,” Hall apparently is including Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert, a Republican, who told the AP that misleading statements to police are common, and that, “It is not a crime per se to lie to the cops.”