BOZEMAN — A Montana judge on Wednesday ordered the release of a mugshot of U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte taken after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter on the eve of the special election that put him in office.
The plea came after reporter Ben Jacobs said Gianforte “body-slammed” him and broke his glasses as he tried to question the congressman about health care issues.
Gallatin County District Judge Holly Brown said the booking shot of the Republican and only House member from Montana should be made public.
County Attorney Marty Lambert had refused to release the image without a court order, arguing the photo taken on Aug. 25 was confidential criminal justice information.
Several media organizations, including The Associated Press, filed motions seeking its release.
Neither Gianforte nor Lambert opposed the release of the photo after the motion was filed.
A phone message left after hours Wednesday on an answering machine at Gianforte’s Washington office was not immediately returned
Gianforte initially argued that he should not have to be photographed and fingerprinted because he was never formally arrested for attacking Jacobs on May 24.
Audio recorded by Jacobs documented the sounds of a scuffle followed by Gianforte yelling, “Get the hell out of here!”
Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was fined $385. He was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counseling.
The Justice of the Peace who heard the case later ordered Gianforte to be booked and fingerprinted.
He has met the requirements of his sentence, Gianforte’s communication director Travis Hall has said.
Gianforte also apologized to Jacobs and gave $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.