Greg Gianforte, the right-wing politician who body slammed a reporter and then somehow won his election for Montana congressman anyway, will be pleading no contest to assault charges. He has also sent a letter of apology to the journalist he attacked.
According to CNN, Gianforte issued the apology to his victim, Ben Jacobs, on Wednesday.
"My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. 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."
"I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness," reads the mea culpa.
Jacobs has reportedly accepted the apology, saying in a statement that "I have accepted Mr. Gianforte's apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements, I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the First Amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country."
The Committee to Protect Journalists, who Gianforte will be donating $50,000 to, offered a statement as well: "We are heartened to see that the congressman has issued an apology and recognizes that violence against journalists is unacceptable," said Courtney Radsch, the group's advocacy director.
The inciting incident had occurred on May 24th, after Jacobs had asked Gianforte a question on healthcare.
Gianforte was charged the next day, when he also won the election, despite various newspapers vociferously denouncing his actions.
"If what was heard on tape and described by eye-witnesses is accurate, the incident in Bozeman is nothing short of assault," the Billings Gazette wrote. "We wouldn't condone it if it happened on the street. We wouldn't condone it if it happened in a home or even a late-night bar fight. And we couldn't accept it from a man who is running to become Montana's lone Congressional representative."
Gianforte apologized to Jacobs in his acceptance speech as well.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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