Herbster drops defamation suit; Slama ends sexual battery case

Oct. 28, 2022, 12:17 p.m. ·

Heading from court document in Herbster v Slama
The heading from the court filing asking the judge to dismiss Herbster v Slama

Former Republican candidate for Governor Charles Herbster and Nebraska State Senator Julie Slama have agreed to drop their lawsuits against one another.

Charles Herbster, in suit and cowboy hat, addresses supporters during his concession speech
Charles Herbster tallied 78,104 votes, or 30.4%, in Tuesday night's primary election. (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)
Julie Slama, far left, looks on as attorneys present at a court hearing.
Julie Slama (far left) looks on as her attorney David Lopez speaks at a hearing related to the defamation case filed against her. (Photo: Justin Wan)

After weeks of acrimony, no one involved in the case seemed willing to explain the hasty retreat.

Speaking for Slama, attorney Marne Jensen released a one-sentence response to a request from Nebraska Public Media News for comment. “The Parties have dismissed their litigation against each other and will make no further statement on the matter."

Herbster sued for defamation of character in April, citing accusations “of scandalous conduct” after Slama stated he had sexually groped her. The allegations came to light in a story published by the Nebraska Examiner in the days leading up to the May 2022 primary election. That story claimed seven other women had anonymously recounted similar behavior.

Herbster denied the allegations but did not sue the Examiner or a second woman who recounted similar behavior.

Herbster lost the nomination to Jim Pillen.

A screenshot of Charles Herbster's lawsuit against State Sen. Julie Slama
The defamation lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Johnson County on Friday afternoon.

In his original complaint, Herbster stated the groping allegations were politically motivated, linking Slama with the Pillen campaign endorsed by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Slama filed a counter-suit in Johnson County District Court, accusing Herbster of sexual battery and asking for damages. A set of bitter and politically charged court filings followed.

At a hearing in June, Slama told reporters “at the end of the day, election outcomes, politics have nothing to do with why we’re here today which is going through what happened to me and other women.”

On Wednesday, attorneys for both the Republicans filed a one-paragraph request in Johnson County District Court to dismiss both the Herbster and Slama lawsuits with prejudice.

The filing, a “joint stipulation,” read “through their counsel of record, and jointly seek the Court’s dismissal of this matter with prejudice.”

That would indicate both parties agreed to drop their cases and never raise these charges in court again.

District Court Judge Rick Schreiner signed an order on Thursday agreeing to the dismissal, ending the case.