Congressman apologises for 'body-slam' on Jewish journalist

Greg Gianforte wrote to Ben Jacobs offering a full apology for the assault


The British-Jewish journalist who was assaulted by a US Congressman has received a full apology for the attack.

Ben Jacobs was “body-slammed” -  thrown to the ground and punched – by Montana Republican Greg Gianforte on the eve of his election to the House of Representatives.

Gianforte assaulted Mr Jacobs in reaction to a question from the reporter about the Republican healthcare plan.

In a letter to Mr Jacobs, Gianforte wrote: “My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.

“I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

The politician also said he would donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists as part of his effort to make amends.

Gianforte faces criminal charges over the attack and if found guilty, could be fined up to $500 or face a jail sentence of up to six months.

The Gianforte campaign initially blamed Mr Jacobs for the altercation, falsely claiming the reporter “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face”.

In a statement released at the time, the Gianforte campaign said: “Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.”

“I have accepted Mr Gianforte’s apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements,” Jacobs said in a statement. “I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the first amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country.”

A crowdfunding campaign replace Mr Jacobs’ broken glasses raised more than $7,500, which the reporter requested be donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists as well. 

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