House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt acknowledged that he was involved in a gun-related incident in Montana last September which led to his arrest and felony charges against his friend.
In a statement issued Friday, Daudt, R-Crown, said he traveled with his friend, identified in court records as 24-year-old Daniel Benjamin Weinzetl of Cambridge, to buy an antique vehicle in Livingston, Montana on Sept. 7. Charges against Weinzetl say that after a dispute over the vehicle’s condition, Daudt and the seller argued, causing Weinzetl to pull out a black handgun and point it at the seller and his family including children. The alleged victim then fled and called police.
Weinzetl and Daudt were stopped in separate vehicles and arrested. Daudt was not charged. Weinzetl was charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment, all felonies.
Daudt declined to answer questions Friday, but in the statement acknowledged his involvement in the incident and that the gun was his.
“While we worked to resolve the situation, the seller became verbally aggressive with both my friend and me and became physically aggressive with my friend. I did everything I could to calm down the seller, diffuse the situation and get my friend and me out of harm’s way." the statement said. "However, feeling imminently threatened, my friend retrieved a handgun, without my knowledge, from my vehicle. The gun is licensed to and owned by me. The gun was not discharged during the incident.”
Daudt said in his statement that his friend was detained, but does not mention his own arrest.
“As a witness, I provided a statement to local authorities who informed me that at no time was I accused by anyone of any wrongdoing, and that according to all accounts I was trying to diffuse the situation.”