- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2023

American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp filed court documents Thursday denying sexual harassment allegations by an anonymous GOP campaign aide and demanded the plaintiff be forced to reveal his name in court.

Responding to the civil lawsuit, Mr. Schlapp’s lawyer said the anonymous complaint “reeks of gamesmanship and hypocrisy.”  

Mr. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes Schlapp, who the plaintiff is suing in a $9.4 million defamation lawsuit, denied those claims in the filing in circuit court in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Schlapps also filed a motion for the identification of the aide. The aide’s attempt to remain anonymous, the motion declares, is “utterly without justification.” The court document identifies the aide as a 39-year-old man.

“Mr. Schlapp has no record whatsoever of sexual or other misconduct,” the motion states. “But by broadcasting his false allegations to the public, Plaintiff has already succeeded in dragging Mr. Schlapp’s name through the mud, to the delight of his political opponents and journalists hungry for a scandal, however frivolous.”

The Schlapp motion accuses the aide’s lawyer of engaging “in a wildly inappropriate campaign to smear Mr. Schlapp in the media, describing by name as ‘a sexual predator’ who engaged in ‘despicable actions.’”

The Schlapp’s court response comes just weeks ahead of the ACU’s Conservative Political Action Conference, one of the top GOP political confabs of the year, which is run by Mr. Schlapp.

This year’s CPAC will feature former President Donald Trump among other GOP luminaries who may be eyeing a 2024 White House run. 

Mr. Schlapp and Mrs. Schlapp have been embroiled in the claims made by the anonymous aide, which date back to last fall. The aide accused Mr. Schlapp of unwelcome advances while he drove Mr. Schlapp from a bar in Macon, Georgia, back to his hotel on Oct. 19. At the time, the aide was working for the Herschel Walker Senate campaign and Mr. Schlapp was in town to attend campaign events for Mr. Walker. 

The aide is suing Mr. Schlapp for sexual battery. His $9.4 million defamation suit accuses Mr. Schlapp, Mrs. Schlapp and another GOP operative of “a campaign to impugn” him on social media and in the press after his sexual batter claims were made public in the media. The aide’s civil case includes four counts, two involving defamation and one related to the alleged groping episode. A fourth charge claims the Schlapps worked with GOP fundraiser Caroline Wren to defame the aide on social media.

Mr. Schlapp’s legal response echoes his steadfast denial of the aide’s groping claim. Mr. Schlapp and Mrs. Schlapp also deny defaming the plaintiff. 

“The Schlapps deny each and every allegation in the complaint,” the Schlapp court response states. The response asks the court to throw out the case and reimburse their legal costs.

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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