The man who has accused Matt Schlapp of making unwanted sexual advances has come forward to identify himself after a judge said he could not anonymously pursue a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the American Conservative Union president.
Carlton Huffman, 39, came forward Wednesday and released a nearly 11-minute-long video on social media, saying he has done so to stop Mr. Schlapp from victimizing others.
“The reason I stepped forward is to make sure that Matt Schlapp never gets the opportunity to prey on anybody else without the world knowing the kind of man that he is,” Mr. Huffman said. “It also was to say to any victim out there, whomever you may be, whomever may have hurt you, you have the opportunity to reclaim your agency. To find your voice. To find that within you to say they cannot forever make you a victim. You instead can become victorious.”
Mr. Schlapp denies any wrongdoing. He and his wife, Mercedes, had previously filed a motion in court for the identification of the aide. The motion said Mr. Huffman’s attempt to remain anonymous was “utterly without justification.”
Alexandria Circuit Court Chief Judge Lisa Bondareff Kemler sided with the Schlapps and said Mr. Huffman would have to put his name on the suit.
A spokesman for the Schlapps said Wednesday that Mr. Huffman had tried to attack the couple anonymously even before he filed the lawsuit, “to avoid scrutiny of his unsavory past, troubled work history and issues with honesty.”
“We find it ironic that someone who was fighting to maintain anonymity cooperated with the Washington Post on a profile piece complete with photographs ready for publication almost immediately following the court’s ruling,” said spokesman Mark Corallo. “We are confident that when his full record is brought to light in a court of law, we will prevail. Out of respect for the court, we have no further comment at this time.”
Mr. Huffman told The Washington Post he plans to amend his previous lawsuit seeking $9.4 million in damages for alleged sexual battery and defamation. The suit accuses Mr. Schlapp, Mrs. Schlapp and another GOP operative of leading a campaign to “impugn” him after his claims were made public.
The Schlapps have denied the allegations in the complaint.
In his video, Mr. Huffman said he is not a perfect person and said he is not proud of some of the things he has done in the past.
Indeed, Mr. Huffman has a history of making pro-Confederacy statements and expressing sympathy for white supremacy, according to news reports.
WRAL reported Mr. Huffman resigned from a job at the North Carolina Statehouse in late January after reporters received an anonymous email highlighting some of the controversial statements he made in the past.
Mr. Huffman’s video comes days after Mr. Schlapp presided at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, where former President Donald Trump’s influence over the base of the party was on full display.
The accusations leveled against Mr. Schlapp, according to Mr. Huffman, stem from when he was working on Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign in Georgia. On the night in question, Mr. Huffman said he was tasked with shuttling Mr. Schlapp between restaurants and bars in the Atlanta area.
Mr. Huffman said Mr. Schlapp was drinking vodka “heavily” and at one point grabbed his crotch.
“I did everything that I could to indicate I was not interested in anything with Matt. I angled myself away from him. I even was looking at the TV so intently that he made a point of asking me, ‘Do you have a problem looking at me?’ It was at that point that I knew things were taking a turn,” Mr. Huffman said in the video.
Mr. Huffman said when he drove Mr. Schlapp back to his hotel that his “hand never left my leg for just about the entire drive.” He said as they got closer to the hotel “he reached over and grabbed me where you should not be grabbed whenever you don’t want to be.”
“It is to my eternal shame that in that moment that I let him take my voice from me, and take my dignity,” he said.
Mr. Huffman said he kept silent at first because he did not want to pull attention away from Mr. Walker’s campaign.
“America, now you know a little about me, you know about my story, you are going to know a lot more probably throughout the course of this,” Mr. Huffman said. “I am not telling just my truth about what happened on Oct. 19, 2022, I am telling the truth and the truth will set you free.”
• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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