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Guilty, But No Jail Time For Republican Lawmaker Who Assaulted a Reporter

Newly elected US Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) escaped with a slap on the wrist after pleading guilty to assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before his election this May.

On Monday, Montana Judge Rick West sentenced Gianforte to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management that he must complete by November 28, Vox reports.

“My intent was not to have you sit in jail,” West told the new Congress member. “I don’t think that will serve the community or the taxpayers.”

Gianforte was also given a 180-day “deferred jail sentence,” which can be dismissed if he doesn’t violate the terms of the sentencing.

The violent Republican sent a letter apologizing to Jacobs for “body-slamming” him at a campaign barbecue, breaking his glasses and sending him to the hospital for an X-ray on his elbow. Gianforte also pledged to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Gianforte attacked Jacobs after the reporter asked about the Congressional Budget Office score of the Republican health care bill, an analysis that indicated that changes to the bill would still result in 23 million people losing health insurance in the next 10 years.

“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful,” Gianforte’s letter said. “As both a candidate for Office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.”

Jacobs accepted the apology, but Gianforte hasn’t apologized for lying about the altercation.

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