Reporter assaulted by Gianforte: He's refused to sit down with me

Reporter assaulted by Gianforte: He's refused to sit down with me
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Journalist Ben Jacobs on Tuesday ripped Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) for failing to give him an on-the-record interview following a violent physical altercation on the eve of Montana's special congressional election earlier this year. 

"In refusing to do the promised on-the-record interview with me, Congressman Gianforte continues his pattern of avoiding responsibility for his actions and refusing to live up to the statements made in what I had thought was a sincere apology," Jacobs wrote in a statement to Gianforte's spokesman.

Back in May, Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, was body-slammed and then repeatedly hit by Gianforte after the reporter attempted to ask the politician questions, according to witnesses at the scene. The reporter said he was determined to turn the incident into "something positive," but bemoaned that the congressman has not kept his word to hold an interview.

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"From the beginning, I have tried to turn Congressman Gianforte’s assault against me into something positive. I have not profited off a lawsuit or taken advantage of the attention that has been thrust upon me. Instead, I hoped to use this incident as a positive opportunity to promote civil discourse as well as the importance of freedom of the press," his statement continued.

A spokesman for the congressman denied Jacobs's claims. 

"As he has since June, Congressman Gianforte has offered to sit down with Mr. Jacobs. For anyone to suggest otherwise is false. We have been honest brokers in our efforts to arrange for Mr. Jacobs to sit down with the congressman, including providing Mr. Jacobs with possible dates and times for a meeting and asking what Montana beers the congressman could bring for Mr. Jacobs when they meet. Mr. Jacobs has yet to either accept or decline our offer. Congressman Gianforte's offer to Mr. Jacobs remains on the table," the spokesman said in a statement.

In his statement, Jacobs maintains that the door is still open if Gianforte wishes to meet.

"When the Congressman is ready to schedule an on-the-record interview with me, I welcome hearing from him. Otherwise, should we meet in the halls of the Capitol, I hope I can approach him without fear of physical assault," the reporter said.

Gianforte pleaded not guilty after being charged with misdemeanor assault against Jacobs.