Matt Schlapp Accuser Dropped Groping Lawsuit After a $480,000 Settlement

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A Republican operative who said he had been groped by Matt Schlapp, the head of one of the nation’s largest conservative advocacy groups, dropped his lawsuit against Mr. Schlapp after receiving a $480,000 settlement, according to three people familiar with the deal.

The operative, Carlton Huffman, 40, had accused Mr. Schlapp of grabbing his genital area when the two men were alone in a car after a campaign event in Georgia in 2022. He sued Mr. Schlapp last year but announced this week that he had dropped the lawsuit. In a statement, he said he had not been paid by Mr. Schlapp or the American Conservative Union, the group Mr. Schlapp oversees.

Instead, Mr. Huffman received the six-figure settlement through an insurance policy, according to the three people familiar with the deal, who insisted on anonymity to speak about the private agreement. These people said they were motivated to disclose the details because they were upset over what they described as a victory lap from Mr. Schlapp after the lawsuit was dropped.

Mr. Huffman declined to comment, saying he was legally bound to say nothing more than that he and Mr. Schlapp had resolved their differences. Mr. Schlapp did not respond to a message seeking comment, and his spokesman declined to comment about the financial settlement, which was first reported by CNN.

When the lawsuit was dropped, Mr. Schlapp released a lengthy statement that did not mention Mr. Huffman, and instead criticized unnamed liberals and the “left-wing” news media for coverage of the lawsuit.

On social media, Mr. Schlapp reposted messages that falsely claimed he had been cleared of wrongdoing and asserted that Mr. Huffman had apologized, which he had not.

Mr. Huffman’s lawyer, Tim Hyland, notified Mr. Schlapp that the social media posts violated the terms of the deal and that the two sides would return to court unless the problems were fixed.

All of the social media posts flagged by Mr. Hyland have been deleted.

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