Schlapp Accuser Named: 'I'm Not Going to Drop This'

Ex-Herschel Walker aide Carlton Huffman, 39, alleges CPAC chair groped him during car ride
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2023 8:36 AM CST
Schlapp Accuser Agrees to Be Identified in Suit
Matt Schlapp speaks with his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, during CPAC at the National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on March 2.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Matt Schlapp just wrapped up this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, leaving him more time to contend with another large item on his plate: the $9.4 million sexual battery and defamation lawsuit brought by a former staffer for Herschel Walker's Senate campaign, who alleges the CPAC chair groped him during a car ride. The complaint was filed in January, with the Daily Beast first reporting on the allegations, but until this week, the individual who filed it was known simply as "John Doe." Now, a name: seasoned Republican political aide Carlton Huffman, 39, who says the judge in the case made him ditch his anonymity if he wanted the case to proceed, reports the New York Times.

Huffman says he initially sought to remain unnamed because he feared reprisal from supporters of former President Trump, whom Schlapp has long advised. "The judge ruled the way she did, but we're ready to move forward," Huffman noted in a short presser Wednesday after a videoconference hearing in Virginia Circuit Court. He added, per the Washington Post: "I'm not backing away. I'm not going to drop this. Matt Schlapp did what he did and he needs to be held accountable." Schlapp, 55, has denied Huffman's allegations that, in October, he groped Huffman's leg and crotch as Huffman was driving him back to his hotel after some drinks at local bars in Atlanta, where Schlapp had come to help Walker's campaign in his run for a US Senate seat.

Sources tell the Times that Schlapp was barred from any future Walker events after the campaign got wind of the allegations around the incident, which Huffman reported to campaign officials the next morning. Huffman's suit also names Schlapp's wife, Mercedes Schlapp, for defamation. Schlapp's team accuses Huffman of trying to use the anonymity card to conceal his own questionable past, which includes his involvement more than a decade ago with a white supremacist radio show and blog, in which Huffman revered the Confederate flag and blamed Black Americans and undocumented immigrants for violent crime.

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"That was an ugly chapter of my life that I am personally ashamed of," Huffman acknowledges to the Post, noting he rejected those views in 2011. In her ruling Wednesday, Alexandria Circuit Court Chief Judge Lisa Bondareff Kemler says Huffman didn't establish a "concrete need for secrecy" in requesting anonymity, a small victory for Schlapp. "We are confident that when his full record is brought to light in a court of law, we will prevail," a Schlapp spokesman said in a statement Wednesday of Huffman's complaint. (More Matt Schlapp stories.)

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