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Montana Democrats wanted newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte from Big Sky Country to stand out on his first day on Capitol Hill, so they sent him a bright orange prison jumpsuit to wear.
The Democrats from Gianforte’s home state hoped it would serve as a reminder to the Republican Congressman, who was arrested for assaulting The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, that he committed a crime the day before he was elected.
The tech millionaire-turned-politician pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, which can carry a maximum six-month jail sentence, in a Montana courthouse earlier this month. Gianforte was sentenced to community service and anger management training.
“As a convicted criminal, he will be hidden by his Leadership and not given any position of influence in Washington,” said Roy Lowenstein, spokesman for the Montana Democratic Party who was hired just days prior to the gift’s purchase. “So, we got Mr. Gianforte a welcome gift to help his new colleagues identify him.”
Lowenstein told NBC News that the Montana Democrats ordered the jumpsuit on Amazon and mailed it to Gianforte’s new office in Washington D.C. to draw attention to the assault, which they call the “Big Sky body slam,” as well as the Congressman’s decision to attempt to blame it on the victim.
In an early June letter that included an apology to Jacobs, Gianforte pledged to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
"My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful," Gianforte wrote to Jacobs. "As both a candidate for Office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard."