Authorities are speaking out on a Guardian reporter’s claim that GOP candidate Greg Gianforte “body slammed” him and broke his glasses during an interview.
Watch the police press conference on the reporter’s claims live via a Twitter stream here or here.
Be aware that some of the reporters had tweeted that they were having connection problems in the room.
Ben Jacobs lodged the complaint both with police and on Twitter, and his publication, the British news site, the Guardian, has posted audio of the exchange. You can listen to that audio here:
The audio captures the rustling sound of an altercation, and then a male voice says after Jacobs asks a question about healthcare, “I’m sick and tired of you guys. The last (unintelligible) that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing, you with the Guardian?”
“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” says Jacobs.
“The last guy did the same da*n thing.”
“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs responds, saying he’s going to call the police.
“Get the hell out of here.”
Gianforte’s campaign released a statement painting Jacobs as the aggressor:
The allegations – which his campaign is hotly contested – come at the worst possible time for Gianforte: The night before the special election to fill the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, who left to become Donald Trump’s interior secretary.
Gianforte’s campaign has alleged that Jacobs grabbed his wrist first and accused Jacobs of provoking the incident, referring to him as a “liberal” journalists.
Jacobs, who is based out of Washington D.C., has reported for numerous American publications over recent years, including the Daily Beast.
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Gianforte is a millionaire businessman who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Montana. The Montana special election was already being closely watched because of Gianforte’s support for the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare. The race was said by observers to be closer than expected, considering that Trump won Montana by more than 20 points. What should thus have been a lock for the GOP was said to increasingly be in doubt, although Gianforte was still favored.
What will happen as a result of the allegations by Jacobs remains to be seen.
Read more about Jacobs here and the incident here:
Ben Jacobs: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Ben Jacobs, a Guardian reporter, claimed on Twitter that Republican Montana House candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed him and broke his glasses.
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