Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana's sole Congressional seat, allegedly body slammed a Guardian reporter on Wednesday at campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. According to the Guardian, political reporter Ben Jacobs was asking Gianforte about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate slammed Jacobs to the ground.
The alleged assault occurred the night before Montana's special election. The Guardian posted the audio of the event, which can be listened to above. In the recording, Jacobs is heard asking about the healthcare bill before Gianforte says, "We'll talk to you about that later," before telling Jacobs to speak with campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon. After that, the altercation can be heard.
"I'm sick and tired of you guys," you can hear Gianforte yell at Jacobs, "The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?
Jacobs responds by telling Gianforte, "Yes! You just broke my glasses... You just body slammed me and broke my glasses."
Jacobs then tells Gianforte that he is going to call the police and asks everyone in the room for their names.
A Fox News team was in the room at the time and posted their own eyewitness account of the event. Alicia Acuna wrote that Gianforte "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him."
Acuna clarifies that she nor her team saw Jacobs "show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte."
Buzzfeed reporter Alexis Levinson told the Guardian that she had overheard Gianforte's staffers telling Jacobs that the campaign wasn't pleased with previous reporting the Guardian had done on the campaign.
Last month, Jacobs wrote a piece about Gianforte's financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies.
Scanlon later released a statement on behalf of Gianforte that denied the claims made by both Jacobs and Acuna. Scanlon claims that Jacobs "grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground."
Jacobs reported the incident to the police and the Gallatin County sheriff's office is investigating.
Thumbail image from Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.