Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is back in the news again of late, this time because of Trump's shouting rally praise of Gianforte's violent 2017 attack on a campaign-trail reporter. (Gianforte won his election anyway, because Republicans are like that now, but was sentenced to four days jail time for the assault, later bargained down to community service and obligatory anger management counseling. He also blatantly lied to police officers during their investigation of the incident, but was rather inexplicably not charged for doing so.)
Gianforte was also sued by the attacked reporter. In the resulting settlement, Gianforte promised to refrain from lying about the attack or his own false testimony.
Now Gianforte is back in the news—again—for breaking that settlement agreement. According to reporter Ben Jacobs' lawyer, Gianforte broke the agreement when he claimed to a Montana newspaper's editorial board that he didn't in fact lie to police investigators.
On October 23, 2018, The Missoulian reported that, in a meeting with that newspaper's editorial board during the week of October 15, 2018, Rep. Gianforte asserted, "the statement I gave [to police] was my recollection of what occurred and also I am bound by my settlement agreement with Ben Jacobs to not talk about the incident."
Jacobs's attorney points out there are two lies in that small statement. One, his new claim that his false testimony to police was merely his "recollection" of the event is, yet again, changing his story from what the two parties agreed to in the settlement. Two, Gianforte is lying about the agreement itself; it contains no provision preventing Gianforte from discussing the incident. It merely asserts that Gianforte is not allowed to defame Jacobs by lying about the incident.
So now Jacobs's attorney is threatening to scuttle the settlement and sue Gianforte for defamation, because Rep. Wealthy Anger Management Problem just cannot stop lying about his unprovoked attack on a reporter who asked him a healthcare question during a campaign event.
Honestly? It’s time to tear up the settlement. It’s past time, in fact. To his credit, reporter Ben Jacobs has long been clear that he wants to put the incident behind him and continue his news career without the publicity of a lawsuit, but a sitting member of Congress has proven unable, once again, to abide by a simple agreement to not misrepresent what happened when he violently attacked a questioning reporter, then provably lied to police about what transpired. He should not be in Congress at all; at the least, however, he should be held to account for violent criminal behavior. He has shown no sincere remorse for the incident; he continues even now to lie about it, and about Jacobs, and about the settlement, all for his own campaign-trail gain.
For God's sake, tear up the settlement and hold this wealthy but tantruming man-child to account.
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