(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was accused of physically assaulting a reporter on the campaign trail on Wednesday, the eve of a special election to fill the state's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ben Jacobs, a political correspondent for the US edition of the Guardian newspaper, said in a Twitter post that Gianforte had "body slammed" him, breaking the reporter's eyeglasses, at a campaign event in Bozeman.
"There was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me. Audio is posting soon @GuardianUS," Jacobs tweeted.
In a statement issued a short time later, the Gianforte campaign did not deny Jacobs' allegation but countered that he had instigated an altercation by barging into the candidate's office, shoving a recording device in the politician's face "and began asking badgering questions."
"After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined," the written statement from campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said. "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."
The statement concluded: "It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ."