Three months to the day since his election, Montana’s Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte reported to the Gallatin County jail Friday morning to provide his mugshot and fingerprints as part of his conviction for assaulting a reporter.

According to jail records, Gianforte was booked at the Gallatin County Detention Center at 6:37 a.m., and released at 7 a.m.

Last week, Gallatin County Justice Court Judge Rick West ordered that Gianforte report to the jail to provide booking information no later than Sept. 15.

Gianforte, 56, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for “body slamming” Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of Montana’s special election in May.

The incident happened at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters on Discovery Drive. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office briefly questioned Gianforte at the scene, but he refused a follow-up interview with detectives.

Later that night, the sheriff’s office charged the then-candidate with misdemeanor assault.

At a June hearing, Gianforte pleaded guilty to the charge.

As part of the six-month deferred sentence Judge West imposed, Gianforte was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger-management counseling and pay $385 in fines and fees.

The congressman was also ordered to report to the Gallatin County jail for fingerprinting and photographs.

The defense filed a motion objecting to that condition, arguing Gianforte’s case did not fall under the guidelines for which judges can order photographs and fingerprints.

While state law does allow a judge to order photographs and fingerprints of defendants charged with felonies or defendants who have been arrested for most misdemeanor offenses, neither was the case for Gianforte, the defense argued.

Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert objected to the motion, arguing that West did have the discretion to order the congressman to provide booking information.

In a brief ruling issued late last week, West ordered Gianforte to comply with his earlier ruling.

Mugshots are not automatically released as public information in Gallatin County, one of the few counties in Montana that treats the photos as confidential criminal justice information. Mugshots are, however, often released in the county by order of a District Court judge, and the Chronicle has asked the court to consider such a release. Clerks at the court said Friday, though, that a ruling from a judge would likely take at least two weeks.

Gianforte has already paid his fines and fees and completed the 40 hours of community service, according to a report filed with Gallatin County Court Services earlier this month.

Gianforte did his community service with ROC Wheels, a Bozeman nonprofit that builds custom wheelchairs for children around the world.

And Gianforte defense attorney Todd Whipple confirmed that the congressman finished his anger-management counseling earlier this month.

“Greg has fulfilled the terms. The matter is resolved. He remains 100 percent focused on serving the people of Montana,” Gianforte spokesman Travis Hall wrote in a statement to the Chronicle.

Roy Loewenstein, communications director for the Montana Democratic Party, criticized Gianforte’s efforts to avoid taking the mugshot.

“Being booked for committing assault is routine criminal procedure. But Congressman Gianforte wasted months fighting for preferential treatment for himself when he could have been working to help Montana families,” Loewenstein wrote in a statement. “And he still hasn’t explained his position on a health care bill that would force Montanas to pay more for less coverage. Ultimately, his conviction is just another part of his failed record he’ll have to explain to Montanans next year.”

Whitney Bermes can be reached at or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.


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