The Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat was charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday night after witnesses told police Greg Gianforte grabbed a reporter by the neck and slammed him to the ground the night before polls close in the nationally-watched election.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin made the announcement late Wednesday in a statement posted to the county web site. Gianforte would face a maximum $500 fine or 6 months in jail if convicted. The statement added that the reporter's injuries did not meet the legal definition of felony assault.
Gianforte was in a private office preparing for an interview with Fox News when reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said.
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