Republican Representative-Elect Greg Gianforte, who won a special election to fill Montana’s at-large seat to the House of Representatives last month the day after after assaulting Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs, announced he has donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists as part of a civil settlement.
In a letter released Wednesday as part of the settlement, Gianforte states:
“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful. As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.”
The donation to CPJ, which promotes press freedom worldwide, was initiated “in the hope that perhaps some good can come of these events,” the letter continues. “I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
The Congressman-elect still faces criminal charges over the assault. He could be fined up to $500 or face up to six months in jail if found guilty.
Jacobs has signed a release foregoing any civil claim against Gianforte in return for the apology and donation. The reporter has also requested that a crowdfunding campaign to replace his broken glasses also be donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists.