Greg Gianforte, the Montana congressman who body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs as a candidate in May, has had his mugshot released to the public on Wednesday following a judge’s order.
The release of Gianforte’s mugshot comes after the Montana Republican quietly fought a legal battle to avoid taking a mugshot and being fingerprinted.
Gianforte pleaded guilty in June in Montana’s Gallatin County to assaulting Jacobs on 24 May, on the eve of the special election, and was sentenced to community service.
Gianforte, who was sworn in as a member of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington in June, was not arrested on the night of the attack despite being charged with misdemeanor assault. He did not report to the Gallatin County jail until 25 August to have his booking photo and fingerprints taken, following a court order.
Gianforte separately settled a civil suit with Jacobs by making a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit organization that promotes press freedom, stating in an apology letter that he hoped “that perhaps some good can come of these events”.
Since taking office, Gianforte has kept a low profile and mostly avoided reporters. In a rare interview in June, he dodged nine different questions about the attack and why his campaign initially blamed Jacobs.
In the immediate aftermath of the assault, Gianforte and his spokesman lied about the events that took place and made defamatory statements about Jacobs in the press. Gianforte later acknowledged in a formal letter to the Guardian that Jacobs did not initiate any physical contact with him, writing: “I had no right to assault you”.
The congressman has nonetheless reneged on a courtroom offer to sit down with Jacobs for an interview.