Matt Schlapp accuser files a second suit against top conservative operative
The Republican staffer who accused conservative stalwartMatt Schlapp of sexual assault and filed a lawsuit against him for nearly $10 million has filed a separate suit against another top GOP operative alleging defamation.
Caroline Wren, who most recently ran Harmeet Dhillon’s campaign for RNC chair and Kari Lake’s run for governor, was sued Tuesday in D.C.’s federal district court, according to a complaint obtained by POLITICO.
A fundraiser who also helped organize former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021, Wren is a close ally of Schlapp and his wife Mercedes, a former Trump White House staffer. In his suit, the plaintiff alleges that Wren defamed him while attempting to defend the Schlapps from his sexual assault allegation.
Among other things, the suit accuses Wren of using the plaintiff’s name in tweets and saying he was fired from multiple jobs “for lying and unethical behavior” and for “being a habitual liar.” An attorney for the plaintiff on Jan. 12 sent Wren a letter demanding a retraction of statements she had made about the plaintiff on Twitter, according to the complaint, but Wren “continued to maliciously post statements about Mr. Doe.”
While the plaintiff has been terminated from multiple jobs — including from one last week — his attorney states in the filing that the plaintiff has not lost jobs because he was a liar or unethical.
Wren’s tweets “have placed Mr. Doe into contempt, ridicule, and disgrace within the community,” the complaint states.
The plaintiff is seeking more than $500,000 in damages from Wren.
Wren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The suit adds another chapter to a political and legal saga that has affected Republican campaign operations and conservative activists, of which Wren is an increasingly influential one.
The plaintiff, a former Herschel Walker campaign staffer, first shared with the Daily Beast his account of Matt Schlapp allegedly sexually assaulting himafter a campaign event for the Senate candidate. In a subsequent lawsuit, he provided more details about the alleged incident.
According to the suit, the alleged assault took place in October while Schlapp was in Georgia stumping for Walker. The men went for drinks in Atlanta, where they returned after the staffer drove Schlapp back from a campaign event Oct. 19. The plaintiff accused Schlapp of “aggressively fondling” his “genital area in a sustained fashion” while he was “frozen with fear and panic,” according to the original lawsuit filed Jan. 17.
Schlapp has denied the charges and, through a lawyer, suggested he may counter-sue the plaintiff.
The plaintiff sued Matt Schlapp for both sexual battery and defamation. In addition, he sued Mercedes Schlapp for defamation. Wren was named in the first lawsuit, but was not listed as a defendant.
The plaintiff filed both the suit against the Schlapps and the one against Wren as John Doe, since he says he is a victim of sexual assault. In addition to the more than $500,000 in damages he is seeking from Wren, the plaintiff is seeking more than $9 million from the Schlapps. The couple are prominent Republican commentators. Matt Schlapp chairs the American Conservative Union, which hosts the influential CPAC confab. Two ACU board members have released a statement of support for Schlapp.
The lawsuit against the Schlapps has not stopped CPAC’s largest annual event from going on as planned. The CPAC gathering, scheduled for March 1 through 4 at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland, is slated to feature Trump and other top GOP figures as speakers.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.