State Sen. Slama legal filing accuses Herbster of waging ‘media war’ against her

Charles Herbster, left, is a Republican candidate for Nebraska governor who has been in a legal...
Charles Herbster, left, is a Republican candidate for Nebraska governor who has been in a legal battle with State Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling, right, who is seeking damages for sexual battery.(WOWT)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:41 PM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) - State Sen. Julie Slama filed an objection Monday to Charles Herbster’s most recent protection order, calling it “a gag order” and accusing him of waging a “prejudicial media war” against her.

Slama’s objection filing implores the court to “view the motion for what it is: a blatant attempt to inject an unsupported professional conduct sideshow into these proceedings,” and says “the court should not allow Herbster to distract from the central issue of the truth of his sexual battery of Senator Slama.”

The legal team for Herbster, a Republican candidate for governor, filed several motions Thursday relating to Slama’s allegations that he reached under her skirt during a political event in 2019, calling them politically motivated lies and questioning the timing — just before the Nebraska primary election — and noting his inability to appear for a deposition just days before the election. The motions came days after a second alleged victim, Elizabeth Todsen, came forward with similar allegations of sexual misconduct, saying “Herbster sexually groped me while greeting my table.”

Slama’s filing on Monday says that Herbster and his campaign manager fired the “first shots” April 14, the day the allegations were first made public in a story by the Nebraska Examiner, laying out a “counter-narrative” campaign to paint the allegations as political “manipulation” from the Nebraska GOP “establishment.”

The filing cites multiple local news stories covering written and livestreamed statements Herbster made that day, as well as his campaign advertisements and subsequent national media appearances by Herbster, who appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast, and Kellyanne Conway, who appeared on “War Room” spreading a similar message on the candidate’s behalf.

“These statements, individually and collectively, present substantial undue prejudice to Senator Slama. Not only in terms of improperly influencing her credibility for purposes of this litigation, but also more generally. Senator Slama is, of course, a public figure herself—a sitting State Senator who faces her own reelection in 2024,” the objection states.

Slama’s filing also objects to other grievances, particularly the accusation that the media was given a copy of her filing against Herbster before he was.

“Their repeated complaint that Senator Slama’s defensive press statement... was received by media before they personally received Senator Slama’s Objection filing reflects a misapprehension of the technical process of this Court’s electronic filing system,” the document states. “...To the extent Herbster implies that the undersigned somehow ran to the press about a formal legal submission before actually filing that submission, that is false. ... There is no requirement whatsoever that a filer serve an opposing litigant by additional means where that litigant is represented by counsel registered on the e-filing system, and Herbster has identified none.”

Herbster on Monday was engaged in campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, but his campaign issued a response:

“Time and time again, Julie Slama and her team of political operatives have said they do not want to be in the media. Nevertheless, every time there is a legal motion, they run to the media. This is not about justice. It is about a political agenda and getting Jim Pillen elected Governor. Due to their actions, Charles’s attorneys have been forced to file for a protective order. Charles looks forward to clearing his name through the appropriate legal process.”

Herbster for Nebraska

Read State Sen. Slama’s objection

Catch up on the case

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