OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — UPDATE 4/21/2022 8:39 a.m.
On Wednesday afternoon, candidate for governor and businessman Charles Herbster participated in a 20-minute virtual press conference via Zoom to address members of the media and take questions.
Herbster vehemently denied sexual assault allegations that were raised by Republican State Sen. Julie Slama and seven other women who came forward in a Nebraska Examiner article published on April 14, alleging that candidate Herbster groped them at political events between 2017 and the present.
The Conklin Company CEO said that he has enlisted the help of "a great law firm that the president uses" — in reference to Donald Trump, who is hosting a rally next week in Greenwood with Herbster as the guest speaker — to litigate against Gov. Pete Ricketts, Slama and gubernatorial opponent Jim Pillen.
He said he's giving legal holds to each, and others. Pillen and Slama told 3 News Now they had not received any legal paperwork from Herbster. Ricketts had not yet responded to 3 News Now requests to confirm they received such a notice.
A legal hold is a notice not to destroy evidence that could be relevant in litigation.
The Jim Pillen campaign tells me Pillen "has not received any legal papers or notices from Charles W Herbster or his legal team."— Aaron Hegarty (@A_a_ron_Heg) April 20, 2022
Herbster said today "I have taken the route of attorneys to protect my name," including giving Gov. Ricketts, Pillen and Julie Slama legal holds.
Herbster claimed that it was a "smear campaign" against him and a "revived Democratic playbook." The reference was to similar sexual assault allegations leveled during Trump's presidential campaign and the confirmations of Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Herbster said that the majority of Nebraskans would "see it exactly for what it is."
On Tuesday, three more witnesses put their names to the allegations. Two men and one woman said they either witnessed Herbster inappropriately touching someone or that an alleged victim told them immediately following an incident. The report originally appeared in the Nebraska Examiner, but 3 News Now independently confirmed the accounts of those witnesses.
Herbster took questions from CNN's Michael Warren, Right Side Broadcasting Network's Brian Glenn and WOWT's Brian Mastre.
Watch the entire press conference below: