In Gallatin County Justice Court today, Montana’s newly-elected congressman, Bozeman businessman Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter the night before the May 25 special election.
Telling the court he intended to treat Gianforte like any other person appears before him, Judge Rick West sentenced the congressman-elect to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management.
But community service and anger management was not the first sentence West intended to give the Congressman-elect.
The first sentence he handed down included a form of jail time.
Judge West initially sentenced Gianforte to four days in jail with the intent of having Gianforte do the sheriff's work program instead of sitting in a cell.
One eight hour day of the sheriff's work program equals two days in jail, so Judge West recommended Gianforte do two days of the program to cover his jail time.
Judge West then decided against that sentence, after speaking with lawyers and realizing the assault charge makes Gianforte ineligible for the work program.
Judge West told Gianforte it was never his intention to put him behind bars, but jail time would be included for almost anyone else guilty of misdemeanor assault.
There is one part of Judge West's sentence that Gianforte's attorneys are trying to fight, which is whether the congressman-elect will be booked.
Judge West ordered Gianforte be booked as part of his sentence, which means he would be fingerprinted and photographed.
Gianforte's lawyers argue there is a social stigma attached to that and by this Friday they will file a brief against it.
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert says the judge is within his right to order it and will file a brief in support of it around the end of the month.
Gianforte must complete his community service and anger management by November 28.
He says he plans to do his community service during the congressional recess in August.