Monday was not a good day for Greg Gianforte, for Gallatin County Justice Court Judge Rick West, or for Montana.
Lee Newspapers reported that Gianforte was sentenced to 20 hours of anger management counseling and 40 hours of community service. He was given a deferred six-month jail sentence. If he does not violate the conditions of his sentence, the charge could be dismissed. Gianforte was also fined $385 and paid $4,600 in restitution.
This was for his conviction of misdemeanor assault for which he pleaded guilty.
It took a long time for the sentence to be handed out because Judge Rick West tried to give Gianforte four days in jail (with two of those being work days) but as was reported, someone pointed out that “work days” cannot be given in an assault case.
MTN New reported it like this:
West initially sentenced Gianforte to four days in jail and said he could offset the jail time through participating in a county work program.
But when the judge was informed by other court personnel that someone guilty of assault is ineligible for the work program, West decided to defer Gianforte’s entire six-month sentence and impose the community service and anger-management classes instead.
So Judge West had to recalculate. It was embarrassing. The audio was terrible listening to the proceedings on-line. The local press and the court were not ready for their 15 minutes of fame.
Judge West also mentioned something about these proceedings being the same whether the person charged was wearing a suit or jeans and a t-shirt. The judge should have kept his mouth shut on that subject.
I have no problems with the sentence. Gianforte had no criminal record. The anger management sentence is a good move. Money is not an object to Gianforte, so anger management and community service are well-deserved.
Gianforte has another problem brewing. He needs to answer why his press people sent a false statement about the assault. Lee Newspapers reported the following after the hearing:
After the court hearing, Gianforte cut off questions from reporters before he could be asked about why his campaign sent out a false statement.
I’d like to know if he approved the statement sent by his press team. Also, did Gianforte or his press team approve of the “intern with the Greg Gianforte campaign” doing an interview with MTN News?
Those questions need to be answered.
In a statement, Gianforte said he looks forward to putting this behind him. Surprise! That’s not going to happen anytime soon; Gianforte still has to go to DC and be sworn in – and (pardon the pun) meet the press there. The only way it will completely go away is for Gianforte to go back to being a private citizen.
I don’t think his ego will allow that to happen.