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FILE - In this May 25, 2017, file photo, Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after winning Montana's open congressional seat, defeating Democrat Rob Quist, in Bozeman, Mont. Gianforte pleaded guilty on Monday, June 12, 2017, to assaulting a reporter the day before the election. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP, File)

Montana's Greg Gianforte was sentenced to community service for assaulting a reporter


Montana Republican Greg Gianforte avoided jail time Monday after pleading guilty to assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the day before he was elected to the U.S. House. 

Gallatin County Justice of the Peace Rick West sentenced Gianforte to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management counseling and ordered him to pay a $385 fine for the misdemeanor. 

The ruling comes less than a week after the 56-year-old congressman-elect issued an apology to Jacobs and agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

"My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful," Gianforte wrote in a letter to Jacobs. 

In addition, Gianforte's attorneys noted that he had already paid more than $4,600 in restitution for the assault. 

Jacobs said Gianforte knocked him to the ground after he asked the congressman-elect a question on May 24. The Guardian reporter captured audio of the scuffle, as well as Gianforte yelling for him to "get the hell out of here." 

After the judge's ruling, Montana Democrats called for Gianforte to resign. "A man who assaults another person then lies about it, and acts with only his best interest in mind does not share our Montana values," Nancy Keenan, the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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