Gallatin County Sheriff: Gianforte cited for assault, will appear in court by June 7th

UPDATE: Just after 10:30pm on Wednesday evening, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin reported his office has charged Greg Gianforte with misdemeanor assault.

Gootkin's statement reads as follows:

"Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault (MCA 45-5-201).  The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault.  Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court between now and June 7, 2017."


Ben Jacobs, The Guardian reporter who is alleging that congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed him, has been released from the hospital and is being interviewed by the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin says Gianforte was briefly interviewed when deputies arrived, but he was not placed under arrest. The candidate left the scene following the incident. 

During the Sheriff's Office press conference, it was clarified that multiple witness will need to be interviewed still. Roughly five other people were in the room at Gianforte's campaign headquarters when the alleged assault occurred. 

In the audio recording, Jacobs asks the candidate about healthcare and Gianforte says that he'll talk about it later. Jacobs presses the question and the candidate tells him to ask Shane Scanlon, Gianforte's communications director. 

Immediately after that there are crashing sounds. 

The Sheriff's Office has a copy of Jacobs' recording, saying it will be part of their investigation. Word that footage exits has passed around social media, but Gootkin is not in procession of it. If it does exist, he says, the Sheriff's Office will collect it.  

In Gianforte's official response, the campaign claims that "Jacobs entered the office without permission." At this time, the sheriff is not aware of if this is true or not. 

With the special election Thursday, it's worth wondering if the immediacy of it will affect the investigation. Simply put: Sheriff Gootkin says no. 

"We're not treating this [investigation] any different," Gootkin said. 

The investigation goes to the county attorney tomorrow.

The sheriff has also asked that the media and public not call 911 about this case. 

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