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Matt Schlapp is being sued after being accused of fondling a GOP operative.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican operative filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, on Tuesday.

Schlapp “reached in between my legs and fondled me” during a car ride following a night of drinking at two Atlanta bars on Oct. 19, according to the operative, who worked as an aide to Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker last year. According to a copy of the lawsuit, he is seeking $9.4 million from Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, on four civil counts related to allegations of “sexual battery” and claims that the Schlapps and others dishonestly tried “to discredit” him.

Both NBC News and The Daily Beast, which first reported the allegation, granted anonymity to the operative, who feared professional repercussions from openly accusing a conservative movement leader of unwanted groping. In the lawsuit, he is given the alias “John Doe.”

Mr. Doe “did not consent to Mr. Schlapp’s fondling of his genital area,” according to the lawsuit.

Schlapp has not publicly addressed the charge, and he has not responded to a request for comment. On Tuesday, he did, however, tweet a response from his family’s attorney, Charlie Spies.

“The anonymous complaint reveals the accuser’s true motivation… to attack and harm the Schlapp family,” Spies said. “The complaint is false, and the Schlapp family is suffering unbearable pain and stress as a result of an anonymous individual’s false allegation.”

“The Schlapps and their legal team are assessing counter-lawsuit options,” Spies added.

The American Conservative Union organises the Conservative Political Action Conference, a sort of swap meet for right-wing political organisations and operatives that has become a must-attend event for Republican presidential candidates.

In a recent interview, the operative stated that Schlapp invited him to a meeting at an Atlanta bar. He came hoping that a stronger relationship with Schlapp would help him professionally. The men drank at two bars, and Schlapp began invading his physical space, bumping legs, as the night progressed, according to the operative. Schlapp put his hand on the operative’s leg as the operative drove Schlapp to a hotel near the Atlanta airport at the end of the night, according to the operative. Schlapp eventually “grabbed my junk and pummelling it at length,” the operative said in a video he recorded later that night.

“To my shame, I did not say ‘no’ or’stop,'” the operative confessed in the video, a recollection he confirmed in the interview. “God knows it wasn’t a planned advancement.”

When they arrived at the hotel, Schlapp invited the operative up to his room, which was declined, according to the operative.

The operative recorded the video recounting what he claims Schlapp did shortly after midnight on Oct. 20, just hours after the alleged incident. A senior Walker campaign official confirmed that the operative informed supervisors of the allegation that morning. Campaign officials provided the operative with a lawyer and informed him that he did not have to chauffeur Schlapp for a second day.

When Schlapp texted to say he was in the lobby waiting to be driven, the operative responded with campaign-suggested language.

“I did want to say that I was uncomfortable with what happened last night,” he texted, according to screen shots he provided to NBC News. “The campaign does have a driver who is available to take you to Macon and back.”

“Pls give me a call,” came the reply from Schlapp, according to the screen shots. According to screen shots of the staffer’s phone log, Schlapp called the operative several times but received no response, including twice at 7:53 a.m. and once at 8:09 a.m. The operative gave NBC News Schlapp’s phone number to confirm that the messages and phone calls came from him.

According to the lawsuit, Schlapp texted the operative again shortly after noon that day.

“If you could see in your heart to call me at the end of the day. “I’d appreciate it,” Schlapp texted, according to the lawsuit. “If not, good luck with the campaign and keep up the good work.”

According to the lawsuit, the Schlapps worked with allies to discredit the operative after the first news story about the fondling claim was published. According to the suit, Mercedes Schlapp sent a message to neighbours describing the accuser as a “troubled individual” who had been fired from multiple jobs, including one for lying. According to the suit, the operative had never been fired for lying.

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