GOP operative drops sexual assault suit against CPAC’s Matt Schlapp

The GOP strategist who sued Conservative Political Action Conference Chair Matt Schlapp and his wife Mercedes Schlapp over allegations of sexual assault and defamation has dropped his lawsuits against the couple, attorneys for both sides confirmed to The Hill.

“I am discontinuing all of my lawsuits. The claims made in my lawsuits were the result of a complete misunderstanding, and I regret that the lawsuit caused pain to the Schlapp family,” Carlton Huffman wrote in a statement provided by Schlapp’s spokesperson Tuesday.

Huffman, a former staff member of Republican Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate campaign, sued the Schlapps at the beginning of last year, alleging Matt Schlapp was “aggressively fondling” his groin while the two drove back from a restaurant to a hotel during a campaign stop in October 2022.

POLITICO was the first to report the suits’ dismissals.

The suit requested $9.4 million from the couple for a count of sexual battery against Matt Schlapp, a count of defamation against the couple, and a count of conspiracy against the pair for what Huffman said were attempts to defame him.

Matt Schlapp is also the chair of the American Conservative Union (ACU). Mercedes Schlapp is a former Trump administration official.

Asked to confirm Huffman’s statement, his lawyer, Timothy Hyland, told The Hill, “The parties have resolved their differences.”

“The Schlapps have advised that the statements made about me were the result of a misunderstanding, which was regrettable. Neither the Schlapps nor the ACU paid me anything to dismiss my claims against them,” Huffman said.

Matt Schlapp and his attorney, Ben Chew, took a swipe at what Chew called a “certain agenda-driven media” that sought to harm conservatives.

“In my 35 years of practicing law, I have never seen such a case of malicious piling on by non-parties such as that which Matt and Mercedes Schlapp suffered,” Chew wrote in a statement to The Hill. “We believe it ran the gamut from selective leaks from non-party insiders with chips on their shoulders to others who did not prove worthy of the Schlapps’ trust, and of course, certain agenda-driven media who appeared all too eager to destroy conservatives like the Schlapps.”

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Matt Schlapp said his family was “attacked” by “a left-wing media” but has emerged “stronger.”

“Increasingly, they [the left] have gained a stranglehold on the mainstream media, social media, and the legal system which they use to try to silence, shame and bankrupt Americans who have contrary, yet correct viewpoints,” Schlapp wrote in a statement. “Going forward, our eyes are wide open, we understand the struggle better and we learned we must stand our ground and fight or else the haters on the left will destroy every conservative and ultimately our nation.”

Huffman’s lawyer also confirmed his client also dropped a defamation case against Republican activist Caroline Wren, who was accused of attacking Huffman on social media after the allegations against Schlapp were publicized.

Story updated at 11:05 p.m.

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