Politics

Matt Schlapp hit out with a lawsuit after an allegation of fondling a GOP operative

WASHINGTON – A Republican operative Matt Schlapp saidchairman of the American Conservative Union and a top ally of former President Donald Trump, above allegations of sexual abuse Tuesday.

The operator, who worked as an aide to Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker last year, told NBC News that Schlapp “reached between my legs and fondled me” during a car ride that followed a night of drinking at two Atlanta bars on Oct. 19. to allegations of “sexual battery” and allegations that Schlapps and others were dishonestly trying to “discredit” him, according to a copy of the trial.

Both NBC News and Daily Beast, which first reported the allegation, granted anonymity to the operator, who was concerned about potential business harm by openly accusing a leader in the conservative movement of unwanted groping. In the lawsuit, he is identified by the pseudonym “John Doe.”

“Mr. Doe did not consent to Mr. Schlapp fondling his genitalia lawsuit states.

Schlapp has not spoken publicly to the charge, and he did not return a request for comment from NBC News. But Schlapp did tweet a response from his family’s attorney, Charlie Spies, on Tuesday.

“The anonymous complaint demonstrates the prosecutor’s real agenda … to attack and harm the Schlapp family,” Spies said. “The complaint is false and the Schlapp family is suffering excruciating pain and stress due to the false allegation of an anonymous individual.”

Spies added that “the Schlapps and their legal team are evaluating options for counter-litigation.”

ACU is the organization behind the Conservative Political Action Conference, a sort of exchange meeting for right-wing political groups and operatives that has become a must-attend event for Republican presidential candidates.

In an interview with NBC News earlier this month, the operator said Schlapp invited him to meet at a bar in Atlanta. He emerged hoping that a stronger connection with the ACU leader could help him professionally. The two men were drinking at two bars, and Schlapp began invading his physical space and bumping legs as the night wore on, he said. When the operator drove Schlapp to a hotel near the Atlanta airport late that night, Schlapp put his hand on the operator’s leg, the operator said. Eventually, the operator said in a video he recorded later that evening, Schlapp “grabbed my junk and hit it lengthwise.”

“To my shame, I didn’t say ‘no’ or ‘stop,'” the operator said in the video, a recollection he repeated in the interview with NBC News. “God knows it was not a desired advance.”

When they arrived at the hotel, Schlapp invited the operator up to his room — a request that was denied — the operator said.

Shortly after midnight on October 20, within hours of the alleged incident, the operator recorded the video of himself recounting what he says Schlapp did. A senior Walker campaign official confirmed that the operative shared the allegation with supervisors that morning. Campaign officials provided a lawyer for the operator and told him he didn’t have to drive Schlapp again another day.

When Schlapp texted to say he was ready to be driven in the lobby, the operator responded with language suggested by campaign officials.

“I wanted to say that I was uncomfortable with what happened last night,” he wrote, according to screenshots he shared with NBC News. “The promotion has a driver available to get you to Macon and back to the airport.”

“Pls give me a call,” was the response from Schlapp, according to the screenshots. Schlapp repeatedly called the operator, who did not answer, according to screenshots of the employee’s phone log, including twice at 7:53 and once at 8:09. The operator shared Schlapp’s phone number with NBC News to confirm that the messages and phone calls came from the ACU chief.

That lawsuit notes that Schlapp sent another text to the operator shortly after noon that same day.

“If you could find it in your heart to call me at the end of the day. I would appreciate it,” Schlapp wrote, according to the suit. “If not, I wish you the best of luck with the campaign and hope you keep up the good work occupation.”

The suit alleges that the Schlapps worked with allies to discredit the operative after the first news story about the core allegation was published. In one case, Mercedes Schlapp sent a message to neighbors describing the accuser as a “troubled person” and claiming he had been fired from multiple jobs, including once for lying, according to the suit. The operator had not been fired from any job for lying, says the case.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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