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Pol charged with assaulting reporter, JFK centennial weekend

The GOP candidate for Congress in Montana, Greg Gianforte, was charge with misdemeanor assault after reportedly bodyslamming a newspaper reporter to the ground and punching him. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty

I'm taking tomorrow off, folks, and the amazing Aimee Ortiz will fill in. Here's a rundown of what's coming up today.

What's it like outside? Cloudy, rainy, windy, lousy. 50s.

While you were sleeping: The GOP candidate for Congress in Montana, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault after bodyslamming a newspaper reporter to the ground and punching him after the reporter asked him a question he didn't want to answer.

Ben Jacobs, who writes for The Guardian, walked into a side room at Gianforte's campaign office in Bozeman, where Fox News reporters were preparing to interview Gianforte. Jacobs asked him about his support of the Republican health care bill in light of the poor CBO score released yesterday. Gianforte, who had been avoiding the health care issue, told Jacobs he'd talk to him another time. Jacobs said time was running out (the election is today) and asked again.


According to an audio recording and eyewitness accounts of the altercation, Gianforte suddenly lost it, grabbed the reporter around the neck with both hands, slammed him to the ground, screaming that he was "sick and tired of you guys." (I think some reporters are sick and tired of politicians.)

As Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna wrote in her account, "Faith [Mangan], Keith [Railey], and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter."

To make matters worse, Gianforte's spokesman, Shane Scanlon, lied about the episode in a statement. Unfortunately for him, the recording and the Fox News reporters contradicted just about everything he wrote. I've annotated his statement:

"Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview [the interview hadn't started] in a private office, The Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission [any reporter worth her salt who sees other reporters gathered somewhere goes to see what's going on], aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face [he held it up to his mouth as reporters do], and began asking badgering questions [he asked one question in a normal manner]. Jacobs was asked to leave [no, he wasn't]. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder [he wasn't asked], Jacobs declined [no he didn't because he wasn't asked]. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. [This appears to be complete fantasy. The Fox News reporters said 'at no point did any of us ... see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression.'] It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ." [Okay, so which one of them was charged with assault again?]


This morning, at least three Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsement of Gianforte, who was leading his Democratic opponent by single digits in polls. (BTW, this race is to fill the seat left empty when Ryan Zinke became interior secretary. Montana, which is 14 times bigger than Massachusetts, has just one House seat because its population is just a little more than 1 million people, bighorn sheep, moose, and mountain goats.)

Gianforte has to appear in court by June 7. If found guilty, he could get up to a $500 fine, or six months in jail, or both.

Hey, sport: The Red Sox hope to sweep the Rangers in the last game of their series tonight (7:10, NESN, MLB Network, and WEEI radio). If Drew Pomeranz can get past the fifth inning -- something he hasn't done in his past three starts -- they might have a chance. Last night, their 9-4 victory featured the surging offense supporting Chris Sale, whose incredible streak of eight consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts ended (he had six Ks).


By the way, things are not going great for David Price. Pitching for Pawtucket yesterday, he gave up six runs on seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings.

The Celtics' season could end tonight, or they could live another day to lose in Cleveland Saturday. Down 3-1 in the series (I mistakenly said 3-2 yesterday; wishful thinking), they face elimination when they take on the Cavaliers at the Garden, where LeBron and company thrashed them in the first two games (8:30 p.m., TNT and 98.5 FM). Whenever it happens, let's hope they go out with dignity.

President Trump landed in Brussels -- a city he once called a "hellhole" for accepting refugees -- and he and Melania met with Belgium's King Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde, even as thousands protested against his presence in the city center. He's also meeting with leaders from the European Union, which he also has criticized, and has a session with members of NATO, which he also has criticized. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Here we go again: Congress will have to decide today what to do about AG Jeff Sessions' failure to disclose his meetings with the Russian ambassador when he applied for his security clearance. Sessions said an FBI employee -- unnamed -- told him and his staff that meetings with foreign ambassadors didn't have to be listed.


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been bopping around New England for a few days, hiking in Maine to celebrate his 5th wedding anniversary with wife Priscilla Chan; visiting her alma mater, Quincy High (and making a donation), and running a Facebook Live session in his former dorm room at Harvard. Today, he gives the commencement address at Harvard's graduation, an event he never attended as a student because he dropped out to build out Facebook.

JFK would have turned 100 years old this coming Monday, and his presidential library and museum in Dorchester kicks off the centennial celebration of his birth with a forum tonight, followed by events all weekend. If you recall, the Post Office issued a forever stamp commemorating the day back on Presidents Day.

Tonight, Pulitzer Prize historian David McCullough, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, discusses a new collection of his speeches, "The America Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For."

The rest of the weekend schedule includes the opening of a new exhibit at the library and a special ceremony at the Red Sox gameon Friday, an event to honor Peace Corps volunteers at the library on Saturday, and a space exploration day for families at the library Sunday.


The weekend is capped off with an all-day party at the library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, free and open to the public.

Some events require advance registration, so check the complete schedule here.

Finally, the movie "Stars Wars' -- the very first one -- opened 40 years ago today "like an earthquake," in the words of the late Carrie Fisher, who played the iconic Princess Leia. It birthed a cultural obsession that shows little sign of abating. There have been six more movies in the triple trilogy, with the eighth, "The Last Jedi,"scheduled for release in December (here's the trailer), not to mention anthology and animated films, TV series and specials, theme rides at amusement parks, comic books, toys -- oh, the toys -- video games, and more.

To mark the upcoming release of the latest installment, as well as the 40th anniversary, the aforementioned Leia -- now General Leia Organa in the latest movies -- will grace one of four Vanity Fair covers hitting newsstands June 6 featuring photos by Annie Leibovitz. Powerful to the end.

Thanks for reading. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died while in military service for this country. Many families also visit the graves of their deceased relatives and friends, paying tribute to those close to us. It may be the unofficial beginning of summer, but let's not forget the past. E-mail questions, comments, or news tips to teresa.hanafin@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you Tuesday.

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