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Herbster files lawsuit against Nebraska State Sen. Julie Slama

Slama, seven others recently made allegations of sexual misconduct against the Republican gubernatorial candidate
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 4:17 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Charles Herbster, a Republican candidate for Nebraska governor, filed a lawsuit Friday against State Sen. Julie Slama in Johnson County, her county of residence.

Underscoring Herbster’s continued assertion that the allegations made by multiple women were part of a political conspiracy against him, his campaign announced the lawsuit in a news release, saying: “Trial by media and public opinion strips the protections granted to all citizens by our Constitution. It is not a coincidence that the accusations which are the subject of the lawsuit were made just days before an election.”

Nebraska’s primary election is Tuesday, May 10.

“As set forth in my lawsuit, the false accusations and attacks on my character are part of a greater scheme calculated to try and defeat my candidacy,” Herbster said in Friday’s release. “I will not stop fighting until the truth is told and my name is cleared.”

While no dollar amount is defined in the court filing, the defamation lawsuit states that Herbster has “suffered damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”

The candidate’s statements echoed what Herbster had said during a news conference Wednesday on the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him last week.

Speaking via Zoom from his condo in Omaha at the time, Herbster said then that the allegations amounted to nothing more than “a smear campaign” and that he was taking legal actions regarding those allegations, turning the matter over to a law firm used by former President Trump, who is heading to Nebraska next Friday to stump for the GOP gubernatorial candidate.

When asked earlier this week for Slama’s response to Herbster’s latest comments, a spokesperson for the state senator referred 6 News to statements she made to local media last Thursday when the story broke.

Herbster said he was “shocked and surprised” at the allegations from Slama in particular, addressing his attendance at her destination wedding, which happened after the alleged sexual misconduct involving the state senator. He said he had RSVP’d for himself and a guest and was never told not to come.

“I just have to question — those don’t seem to be the actions of someone who has done something very, very wrong to them,” Herbster said Wednesday.

The court document filed Friday takes aim at Slama’s request for privacy, citing her radio appearance on KFAB — hours after the Nebraska Examiner broke the story on the accusations — and her tweeted photo, in response to a comment posted by former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub, of the dress she said she was wearing when the alleged assault occurred ahead of that appearance.

The lawsuit details the Douglas County GOP’s Elephant Remembers dinner, held in Spring 2019 — noting that Herbster, being a top sponsor and widely recognizeable attendee, was seated in the front row — before adamantly stating that he “did not grope anyone, reach under anyone’s skirt, or otherwise inappropriately touch anyone at the Dinner, including Defendant Slama.” It then documents that no allegations were made in the years after the event, noting that “at the time of Slama’s publication, Plaintiff Herbster was leading in the polls of the primary Republican candidates in the race for Governor and was ahead of the candidate that Defendant Slama was supporting.”

The lawsuit also notes Slama’s 2020 solicitation for a $10,000 donation to her campaign and contains a screenshot of “an unsolicited text message” that appears to be from the state senator confirming her address on Jan. 22 this year.

A heated he-said/she-said between Republican candidate for governor Charles Herbster and State Sen. Julie Slama.

Read the statement from Herbster’s campaign

“Today, Charles W. Herbster filed a lawsuit against Julie Slama in the District Court of Johnson County, Nebraska. The lawsuit seeks judgment in order to restore Charles Herbster’s good name and reputation and to oppose the false claims made against him.

Our legal system is based on a presumption of innocence. Trial by media and public opinion strips the protections granted to all citizens by our Constitution. It is not a coincidence that the accusations which are the subject of the lawsuit were made just days before an election.

Mr. Herbster stated, “As set forth in my lawsuit, the false accusations and attacks on my character are part of a greater scheme calculated to try and defeat my candidacy. I will not stop fighting until the truth is told and my name is cleared.”

Given the false allegations made against him, Mr. Herbster is left with no other option to clear his name and restore his reputation than to pursue legal action.”

Herbster for Nebraska

Read the statement on behalf of Sen. Slama

We are aware of media reports of a purported lawsuit by Charles Herbster against Senator Julie Slama. Senator Slama has not been served with any such lawsuit. If and when she is, we will review it and respond in due course.

To be sure, any claim that calls into question Senator Slama’s well-corroborated account of her sexual assault by Charles Herbster would be categorically without merit and frivolous. Senator Slama will vigorously defend herself against any such lawsuit. Charles Herbster will be subject to the full scope of civil discovery if he proceeds with any legal attack against Senator Slama.

Senator Slama will stand strong against any attempt to weaponize the judicial process to scare victims from coming forward to share the truth.

Dave Lopez, litigation counsel for Senator Julie Slama

Read the lawsuit

6 News political reporter Brian Mastre contributed to this story.

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