With two scheduled dates available for Greg Gianforte able to make the deadline for his court appearance on misdemeanor assault charges, it appears that the incoming Representative for Montana will not appear the way the rabble in Bozeman is forced to. According to the AP, Gianforte is likely to petition the court to change its normal process so that he doesn’t have to face the shame of appearing with regular people from Gallatin County:
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said Gianforte’s attorneys and Jacobs are discussing a date for Gianforte’s court appearance. Jacobs requested to be at the hearing, Lambert said.
Routine misdemeanors are usually handled by the Gallatin County Justice Court, usually three times a week. But Lambert and court officials said defendants can petition the court to deviate from the usual process – saving Gianforte the ignominy of having to stand in line with other alleged offenders to take his turn before a judge.
Lambert said he was first contacted by one of Gianforte’s attorneys as voters streamed into the polls during the May 25 election. He also spoke with Jacobs at length, he said.
In a country whose legal system is characterized by huge inequities between the wealthy and poor and whites and people of color, the fact that a wealthy white man is going to receive preferential treatment for an assault shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it hardly squares with Mr. Gianforte’s desire to make it seem like he believes he should face the consequences for his actions.
A truly repentant Greg Gianforte would take his place in line with the rest of the people in his county charged with misdemeanors and accept his punishment. Along the way, he might just learn something about a justice system that churns through the poor with far less protection of their constitutional rights in place than the wealthy receive.
A truly repentant Greg Gianforte would also stop taking advantage of special attention from law enforcement.
We’ve learned that Mr. Gianforte spent at least part of Election Day when he was hiding from Montanans and the press having his lawyer negotiate a deal for him and has benefited from the Gallatin County attorney having “lengthy discussions with an attorney” about Mr. Gianforte, a service I can’t imagine that every person charged with a misdemeanor is afforded in the county.
Hell, despite telling the press he wants to own up to what he has done, he still hasn’t personally apologized to Ben Jacobs.
Everything about the assault was treated differently than it would have been for most people in the county. Gianforte was allowed to drive away from the scene before an investigation was conducted, was allowed to hole up on his compound instead of answering questions about the assault, and was charged with misdemeanor assault before being interviewed, even though his campaign issued a statement that was proven false shortly after the attack.
If you’re one of the Gianforte trolls online who is supporting his actions, just yourself this question: if you grabbed someone by the neck, threw them to the ground and started hitting them, would you be allowed to drive away from the scene without being questioned? Would the County Attorney take your calls and have “lengthy discussions” about misdemeanor charge? To arrange a special hearing to avoid the indignity of standing in line?
The only thing that seems “sorry” in this situation is the double standard in the Gallatin County justice system that lets the wealthy get away with things the rest of us simply could not.