Greg Gianforte, the newly elected Montana House Republican who "body slammed" the Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs just a day before his election, has issued a full apology and agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
The donation and a formal apology letter sent to Jacobs to settle potential civil claims.
“Notwithstanding anyone’s statements to the contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you,” he wrote in the letter. “I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety this has created for you. I take full responsibility.”
Jacobs accepted Gianforte's apology in a statement Wednesday.
“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.”
Gianforte shocked the political world when he allegedly body-slammed Jacobs to the floor, breaking his glasses. His campaign initially framed the altercation as "aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist," but Gianforte apologized at his victory party the next day.
The Montana lawmaker was charged with misdemeanor assault following the incident. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Gianforte's victory over Democrat Rob Quist gave him the right to fill the seat vacated by President Trump's secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.
The congressman-elect, who has not yet been sworn in, filed for reelection this week.