Assault conviction: Judge orders Gianforte to report for mug shot, fingerprinting

Montana Republican congressman-elect Greg Gianforte appears in court to face a charge of misdemeanor assault after he was accused of attacking a reporter on the eve of his election, in Bozeman, Montana, U.S., June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Tommy Martino

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte must report to Gallatin County’s jail for fingerprinting and to have his mugshot taken, a Justice Court judge ruled.

Judge Rick West gave the Republican congressman until Sept. 15 to take care of the tasks he originally ordered when Gianforte was sentenced for an Election Eve assault on a newspaper reporter.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for body slamming a reporter for The Guardian a few hours before the start of last May’s special election to pick a successor to Rep. Ryan Zinke, who took a job as Interior secretary in the Trump administration.

West’s brief ruling said the congressman must either comply with the court’s order or be arrested for contempt.

In sentencing Gianforte for misdemeanor assault – considered a crime of violence, West ordered the Bozeman millionaire to complete 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and pay $385 in fines and fees.

He also ordered the congressman to report to the Gallatin County Detention Center for a mug shot and fingerprinting. Gianforte’s legal team objected, saying Justice Court judges don’t have that authority in Montana.

Not so, came the written reply from prosecutors, who said defense lawyers were misinterpreting state law.

“Defendant pled guilty to assault. In imposing conditions of (Gianforte’s) deferred term, this Court apparently found that fingerprinting and photographing was a reasonable condition needed for rehabilitation or for the protection of the victim or society,” the Gallatin County attorney wrote. “If so, (Gianforte) should obey this court’s order.”