A United States congressional candidate in the state of Montana, Greg Gianforte has been charged by law enforcement after “body slamming” a reporter to the ground and breaking his eye-glasses at a campaign event.
Gallatin County police issued the charge warrant after Ben Jacobs, a Guardian correspondent accused Gianforte of body-slamming him as he attempted to ask him questions.
According to an audio tape captured by Jacobs and relayed by MSNBC and CNN, the incident in Bozeman occurred as he tried to question the Republican candidate about his take on Obamacare, a programme the Trump administration intends to abolish.
Corroborating the allegations, Fox News reporter, Alicia Acuna who claimed she and her crew were in the same room preparing to interview Gianforte, said she watched in disbelief as Gianforte, a Tech billionaire, slammed Jacobs on the ground.
“He grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him to the ground,” Acuna said.
Gianforte’s campaign team has not denied Jacob’s allegation but it countered by claiming that the journalist instigated the altercation as he “barged into the candidates office, shoved a recording device in his face and began asking badgering questions”.
The Republican Gianforte, who has just been elected to represent the State of Montana in the US House of Representatives, could be facing a $550 fine and up to six months in jail if convicted, a probable outcome that would deal a major blow to President Trump and his fellow Republicans when they defend their majority in the 2018 mid-term elections.