Reporter describes Montana altercation: ‘I never touched or came close to Gianforte’

BOZEMAN, Mont. — The reporter who says Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed him said Thursday: “I never touched or came close to Gianforte.”

Gianforte was charged overnight with misdemeanor assault after a confrontation with Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian who had asked him a question about health care.

BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson said she was behind a half-closed door to the room Gianforte and Jacobs were in. “All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor,” Levinson tweeted. “Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) – sounded like Gianforte.”

According to Jacobs, Gianforte walked out of the event without speaking and drove away with his aides.

Gianforte’s campaign released this statement Wednesday evening, according to NBC:

Jacobs told ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “It was a little bit sudden, but I went from being vertical one moment to being horizontal the next.”

Gianforte is the Republican running in a special election Thursday for the House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, who was named President Trump’s interior secretary.