The couple sat down on Wednesday for their first interview after the Montgomery County State Attorney’s office dropped charges against Michael of felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual conduct.
Michael, a real estate mogul and restaurant owner, was accused of “grabbing and groping” the butt of a Bravo cameraman while filming an episode of RHOP. The charges carried the potential of 11 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines, but were dismissed on Oct. 4 in a Montgomery County court due to insufficient evidence.
“I didn’t do it,” Michael, 59, told FOX 5 D.C. “My name is cleared. I didn’t do anything. I’m completely exonerated, completely cleared.”
“This definitely crossed a line,” said Ashley, who married Michael in May 2014. “It didn’t jade me, but it certainly made me think twice about whether or not we made the right decision to do the show. But in the long run, I’m not going to let someone ruin Michael and I because they made some false allegation. No one is going to ruin our lives. That just won’t happen.”
In the interview, Michael alleged that the cameraman “saw a way to make money, he went out to tell people,” and claimed that “he quit the day after he filed charges.”
PEOPLE has reached out to the cameraman for comment.
Describing the alleged incident, Michael said that the couple was filming at a party at fellow Housewife Monique Samuels’ home.
“During this filming, I had to go out to take a photograph and I was inside. I moved to go out and I did bump into the cameraman — I presume it was that,” Michael recalled to FOX 5 D.C. “He said, ‘Don’t do that,’ and I said, ‘I’m sorry’ and I moved on. It was instantaneous because I was rushing to film.”
Ashley backed up Michael’s account. “I was at the incident in question,” she said. “I was literally looking at Michael when this alleged incident took place. I would have seen if something like that had happened.”
“I experienced sexual abuse as a child, so I don’t take those things lightly by any means,” Ashley added. “If I thought that my husband had done something wrong of that nature, of course I would definitely address it and I wouldn’t be supporting him as much as I am. But I know the truth.”
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In the aftermath of it, Bravo and the show’s production company Truly Original suspended Michael from filming while they looked into the investigation. Since it was dropped, they have resumed filming.
Despite being back on RHOP, Michael told FOX 5 D.C. he believes the cameraman’s claims are part of a larger issue.
“This is safety in the workplace for everybody,” he said.
“We all care who is in our workplace. We have these people come into our homes. This gentleman had worked for the production company for a month. They hadn’t background checked him,” he alleged. “Even reality stars [get to] have safety and security in the workplace. So that’s a discussion we’re going to have at length with people that we work with.”