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Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate sues state senator who accuses him of groping

<i>Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>Charles Herbster
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Charles Herbster

By Andy Rose, CNN

A Republican Nebraska gubernatorial candidate accused of inappropriate physical contact by eight women is suing a state senator who is one of the accusers.

Charles Herbster filed the suit Friday against GOP state Sen. Julie Slama.

Slama was quoted in an article in the Nebraska Examiner saying that Herbster had reached up her skirt during a Republican fundraising dinner in 2019. She later issued a statement saying, “Today’s Nebraska Examiner report about Charles Herbster sexually assaulting me in 2019, when I was 22 years old, is true.”

Herbster has called the allegations in the article “100% false,” and the lawsuit says, “As a result of Defendant Slama’s false statements about him, Plaintiff has suffered grievous harm to his reputation.”

In a statement put out by his campaign Friday, Herbster added, “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.”

Slama’s attorney Dave Lopez told CNN on Friday evening that the senator had not yet been served with the lawsuit, but he added in a statement, “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.”

Herbster’s run for governor is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to attend a rally with Herbster in Nebraska on April 29.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Herbster told reporters he has not discussed the allegations with Trump. A Trump spokesman did not respond to CNN when asked for comment on the allegations.

Herbster has stated that since the alleged incident in 2019, Slama has met with him multiple times, sought political donations from him, received a $10,000 donation from him and even invited him to her wedding. Asked for comment about the allegations and Herbster’s response, Slama provided a statement to CNN.

“I was scared and felt obligated to meet with my attacker, Charles Herbster, because he is my constituent, a Republican mega-donor, and leading candidate for Nebraska Governor. I was terrified that in addition to sexually assaulting me, he would try to ruin my public reputation- which is exactly what he is trying to do now,” Slama has previously said.

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