Herbster absent, but his and Slama’s attorneys argue back and forth

BEATRICE, Neb. (KLKN) – What was supposed to be a hearing quickly turned into a game of semantics on Tuesday as the attorneys for Sen. Julie Slama and Charles Herbster took turns trying to one-up each other.

Herbster, a former gubernatorial candidate, was noticeably absent from the hearing.

Early in the hearing, Herbster’s counsel Ted Boecker brought a picture of a Slama tweet to the court as evidence in Herbster’s defamation case.

“She avers that ‘I was wearing a dress where I was sexually assaulted,’” Boecker said.

When District Court Judge Rick Schreiner asked if there were any objections to Boecker’s claim, Slama’s attorney Dave Lopez responded.

“Your honor, we object to those exhibits on the basis of relevance, hearsay, lack of authentication, incomplete and apparently altered documents,” Lopez said.

This was one of many instances where Herbster’s and Slama’s legal teams could not see eye to eye.

In one back-and-forth, the two sides squabbled over Herbster’s deposition.

“[The] counsel for the defendant is claiming in recent communication that they need two days for Mr. Herbster’s deposition,” Boecker said.

Slama attorney Marnie Jensen retorted, “What I don’t want to do today is have to counter a straw man that is, ‘We noticed the deposition for two days.’ If that is an issue, I believe that counsel should answer my emails.”

The two teams went back and forth on issues including when Herbster would appear in court, conflicts of interest with Slama’s legal team, and which evidence was relevant.

After an hour, a visibly frustrated Schreiner called for a break for the two sides to confer on some of their differences.

“The lawyers that practice in front of me, 99.99% of time can get together and act like professionals,” he said. “I don’t think that you are unable to do so, any of you.”

After the two sides met for about an hour, they announced that they made significant progress.

“We talked about every item that’s under objection,” Lopez said. “We are on the way to agreements on just about all of them, and I’m hopeful that the matter will be wrapped up before we need to revisit with the court about it.”

This legal saga started when Herbster filed a defamation lawsuit after Slama accused him of groping her.

She then countersued for sexual battery.

Herbster’s team did not meet with the media after the hearing, but Slama did.

“This has never been about politics; this has been about me coming forward about sexual assault perpetrated by Charles Herbster and me trying to protect that from happening to other young women,” she said.

The judge asked that both sides present written arguments to the court on July 1 and asked for a response from each party by July 15.

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