Matt Schlapp accuser files second lawsuit
An anonymous Republican campaign staffer filed a defamation lawsuit against GOP fundraiser Caroline Wren on Tuesday over tweets she issued attacking his suit against Matt Schlapp.
The staffer, who worked on Herschel Walker’s (R) Senate campaign in Georgia, is accusing Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, of sexual assault in another anonymous lawsuit filed earlier this month. Schlapp denies the allegations.
Wren, a long-time GOP fundraiser who helped plan former President Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021 Ellipse rally and recently advised defeated Republican Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, issued a series of tweets in the days following, attacking the anonymous staffer and media coverage of the suit.
In one tweet, Wren said the staffer was a 39-year-old volunteer driver and he “had been fired from multiple campaigns for lying and unethical behavior.”
“Both statements are false, and the latter statement is false and defamatory,” the staffer’s attorneys wrote in the complaint, which was filed in Washington, D.C.’s federal trial court.
One day after the tweet, the attorneys sent a letter to Wren on Jan. 12 demanding she retract it.
But the complaint states that Wren went on to issue additional tweets attacking the staffer’s lawsuit after receiving the letter.
The lawsuit seeks at least $500,000 in damages, claiming Wren’s tweets have caused the staffer distress and reputational harm.
Wren did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.
Her tweets sought to defend Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, a former Trump White House staffer. Both were named as defendants in the staffer’s earlier lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that Schlapp was “aggressively fondling” the staffer’s groin while the two drove back from a restaurant to a hotel during a campaign stop on Oct. 19.
Charlie Spies, an attorney for Schlapps, denied the assault allegation in a previous statement, saying that “the Schlapp family is suffering unbearable pain and stress due to the false allegation from an anonymous individual.”
He added that the complaint’s anonymity demonstrates that the accuser’s agenda is to harm the Schlapp family and suggested the couple is considering a counter-claim.
The staffer’s suit claims that special circumstances exist for him to remain anonymous, citing that the Schlapps are “revered” by some people who have demonstrated a “proclivity” for threatening those with whom they disagree.
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge Beryl Howell on Wednesday granted the staffer’s request to remain anonymous, although Howell indicated the judge who ultimately oversees the case could reconsider the move.
“Any general presumption in favor of open proceedings or public interest in disclosing plaintiff’s identity is outweighed by the highly sensitive nature of the information implicated and the potential psychological and physical risk that plaintiff could face if the information were made public,” Howell ruled.
Matt Schlapp’s organization, the American Conservative Union, is perhaps most well known for hosting the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). This year’s CPAC is scheduled for early next month.
—Updated at 1:10 p.m.
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