Lawsuit against CPAC leader Matt Schlapp for sexual misconduct ended by both parties

End of Lawsuit Accusing CPAC Leader of Sexual Misconduct

A lawsuit accusing Matt Schlapp, the influential leader of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), of sexual misconduct has been ended, with both parties declaring that they have resolved their differences.

The lawsuit was filed in 2023 by Carlton Huffman, a Republican operative, who alleged that Schlapp sexually assaulted him without his consent during a political trip to Georgia in October 2022. Huffman further alleged that Schlapp defamed him by denying the allegation and attacking his credibility.

Huffman had sought $9.4 million in damages for alleged sexual battery and defamation. Schlapp, who denied the allegations, acknowledged meeting Huffman at two bars that night but denied the other allegations.

On Tuesday, Huffman's lawyer, Timothy Hyland, confirmed that the parties have reached a resolution. Additionally, CPAC's board of directors issued a statement saying it was "pleased to learn about the favorable conclusion of the litigation against CPAC and Matt Schlapp."

The terms of the resolution were not disclosed. Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, celebrated the outcome in a statement of their own, saying they "emerge from this ordeal stronger as husband and wife, stronger as parents to our five daughters, stronger as friends to those who stood by us." They were represented by attorney Ben Chew, who criticized the case as a "text-book example of the politics of personal destruction."

The lawsuit had resulted in extensive depositions and subpoenas that were poised to produce potentially embarrassing revelations if it had proceeded to trial. Among those subpoenaed were two individuals who alleged previous incidents of sexual misconduct by Schlapp.

The CPAC, which has become closely aligned with former president Donald Trump and his political allies, has expanded under Schlapp's leadership into a global conference series with multiple events each year in the United States and around the world.

With the conclusion of the lawsuit, CPAC's board of directors has expressed its continued support for Schlapp as the leader of the organization. The ACU, the parent organization of CPAC, had previously paid over $1 million in legal fees as the discovery process was in its early stages.

Several board members and staff members have left CPAC in recent years in protest of Schlapp's leadership and financial stewardship. However, he has consolidated support among the current directors.

"The Board of Directors stands squarely behind Matt Schlapp as the leader of this organization," the board said in its statement.

The ACU, which traces its origins to the aftermath of Barry Goldwater's loss in the 1964 presidential election, has long served as a prime venue for gathering and growing the conservative movement in the United States.

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