Matt Schlapp accused of sexual assault by Walker aide in lawsuit
Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, and his wife, former Trump administration official Mercedes Schlapp, were sued Tuesday over an allegation that he sexually assaulted a former staff member of Republican Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate campaign in October.
Charlie Spies, an attorney for Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, denied the allegation in a statement posted on Matt Schlapp’s Twitter page, saying that “the Schlapp family is suffering unbearable pain and stress due to the false allegation from an anonymous individual” and noting that the couple is “assessing counter-lawsuit options.”
Spies added that the complaint, which was filed anonymously, demonstrates that the accuser’s agenda is to harm the Schlapp family.
The complaint says special circumstances exist for the accuser’s identity to remain anonymous in the interest of preserving the privacy of the victim. It also states Matt and Mercedes Schlapp are “revered” by some people who have demonstrated a “proclivity” for threatening those they disagree with.
The plaintiff, identified as “John Doe,” alleges that Matt Schlapp was “aggressively fondling” his groin while the two drove back from a restaurant to a hotel during a campaign stop on Oct. 19.
Neither Schlapp nor Spies responded to The Hill’s requests for further comment.
The anonymous staffer is requesting a total of $9.4 million from the Schlapps for a count of sexual battery against Matt Schlapp, a count of defamation against the pair and a count of conspiracy against the pair for trying to defame him.
The complaint says the incident followed an event in Perry, Ga., which is about a two-hour drive from Atlanta. According to the filing, the staffer was tasked by Walker’s campaign with driving Matt Schlapp back to Atlanta, where both were staying, after the event.
Later in the afternoon, Matt Schlapp invited the staffer to get a drink at night, according to the complaint. The staffer met him at a restaurant where Matt Schlapp was meeting with a donor, and the two of them decided to go to a “livelier” place after Matt Schlapp’s meeting with the donor was over, the complaint stated.
At the bar where the two traveled, Manuel’s Tavern, the staffer alleges that Matt Schlapp sat “unusually close” to him and was in “almost constant contact” with his leg. The complaint states that Matt Schlapp’s behavior made the staffer uncomfortable, and the staffer eventually noted that they needed to leave Atlanta early the next morning for Macon.
The two men then left the bar, the complaint says, with the staffer driving Schlapp back to his hotel. The complaint alleges that Matt Schlapp then placed his hand on the staffer’s leg without his consent.
Matt Schlapp then proceeded to touch the staffer’s genital area without consent, according to the complaint. Both times, the staffer was “frozen” with fear and shock at what was happening, especially with Matt Schlapp’s influence in conservative arenas, the complaint stated.
The complaint states that Matt Schlapp invited the staffer to come up to his hotel room, but the staffer declined.
The plaintiff states that he told several “trusted persons” of what happened between the night of Oct. 19 into the early morning hours of Oct. 20 and later told senior officials with Walker’s campaign of what happened.
The complaint states that Walker campaign officials made arrangements for someone other than the staffer to transport Matt Schlapp to the Macon event on Oct. 20, but Matt Schlapp did not attend the event.
Politico reported that the Walker campaign told the staffer that it would cover the cost of therapy and followed up with him for a few days to make sure he felt the situation was being handled properly.
After The Daily Beast first reported on the staffer’s claims on Jan. 5, Spies told the reporter for the story, on behalf of Matt Schlapp, that the allegation was an “attack” and said it was false. The staffer said in the complaint that the statement from Spies was false and defamatory.
He also said Mercedes Schlapp, who served as a White House director of strategic communications under former President Trump, defamed his reputation in a text message to a neighborhood group chat.
The complaint included a screenshot of a text that Mercedes Schlapp allegedly sent after the story was published, saying that they learned the accuser was a “troubled individual” who had been fired from multiple jobs, including once as a result of lying on his resume.
The complaint states that the plaintiff was never fired for lying or embellishing his resume and that Mercedes Schlapp’s statement was false and defamatory.
The complaint also alleges that Matt and Mercedes Schlapp organized “confederates” to join with them to damage the plaintiff’s reputation, including an instance in which one person posted false information about him on Twitter and passed that information along to reporters.
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