Gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster and State Sen. Julie Slama agree to drop dueling lawsuits

By: - October 28, 2022 9:04 am

The Gage County Courthouse in Beatrice, Nebraska, where Johnson County District Court Judge Rick Schreiner has overseen the civil lawsuits between former Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster and State Sen. Julie Slama. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

OMAHA — Dueling defamation lawsuits between former Nebraska GOP gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster and State Sen. Julie Slama are over, and neither side is coming back to court.

Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster gives an interview to One America News Network before former President Donald Trump’s rally in Greenwood, Nebraska. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

A filing this week from lawyers for both sides confirmed that the parties had negotiated an agreement to drop their lawsuits with prejudice, meaning they cannot sue each other again for the same reasons.

Neither side would discuss details about the move. A single statement from Slama’s attorney spoke for both sides, a Herbster spokesman confirmed to the Nebraska Examiner on Friday.

It said: “The Parties have dismissed their litigation against each other and will make no further statement on the matter.”

Herbster had sued Slama in April. His lawsuit denied wrongdoing and said Slama’s accusation that Herbster had groped her was damaging to his character and reputation and was political.

Slama counter-sued Herbster days later, alleging, as she had in an April 14 Nebraska Examiner story, that Herbster had touched her inappropriately during a 2019 fundraising dinner in Omaha.

State Sen. Julie Slama
State Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling debates on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature. (Courtesy of Unicameral Information Office)

Slama’s lawsuit argued that Herbster had reached up her skirt and touched her without her consent. It said the then-candidate and his political team had defamed her.

The lawsuits followed allegations by eight women to the Examiner alleging that Herbster had groped them, which he denied. Slama was initially the only woman to speak on the record. A second woman later came forward by name and was not sued.

The Examiner had corroborated the women’s accounts with people who said they witnessed the incidents or were told about them by the women immediately afterward.

Herbster’s team said the allegations were part of a political conspiracy by Gov. Pete Ricketts to help Ricketts’ pick for governor, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen. Ricketts and Pillen have denied taking part in any political conspiracy.

Months of back and forth between lawyers about when Herbster and others would be deposed, what documents could be subpoenaed and when they would hold hearings on motions ended abruptly.

Neither side admitted any fault, nor did anybody discuss any terms of the settlement, if there were any.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Aaron Sanderford
Aaron Sanderford

Political reporter Aaron Sanderford has tackled various news roles in his 20-plus year career. He has reported on politics, crime, courts, government and business for the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also worked as an assignment editor and editorial writer. He was an investigative reporter at KMTV.