RHOP's Michael Darby Filming Again After Sexual Assault Allegations Are Dropped
Real Housewives of Potomac star Michael Darby is grateful that prosecutors have dropped sexual assault charges brought against him by a cameraman on the hit Bravo show
Michael Darby has resumed filming The Real Housewives of Potomac after prosecutors have dropped sexual assault charges brought against him by a cameraman on the hit Bravo show, PEOPLE can exclusively report.
“Our good name and reputation have been upheld through the abandonment of this case by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s office,” Michael, 59, said in a statement on Monday. “It is unfortunate that high-profile people are often sought out as targets, and in this situation, someone tried to take advantage of me.”
PEOPLE confirmed through court records that charges of felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual conduct against Michael — which carried the potential of 11 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines — had been dismissed due to insufficient evidence. The decision was made on Oct. 4 in a Montgomery County court.
Michael, a real estate mogul and restaurant owner who is married to Housewife Ashley Darby, was accused of “grabbing and groping” the butt of a cameraman while filming an episode of RHOP. “As I turned around he smiled and gave me a flirtatious look,” the cameraman claimed in the documents, which were filed on Sept. 4 — three days after the alleged incident took place.
In the docs, the cameraman said he told Michael to stop and reported the incident to his supervisors. Additionally, the cameraman had also filed a restraining order against Michael, which was denied on Sept. 28.
“The charges were dropped. They were baseless. There were a number of alleged witnesses who said it did not happen,” Michael’s attorney Mike Rowan said in a statement. “The peace order request by the alleged victim was also denied. There was simply nothing that happened, and nothing here.”
So what went down with the cameraman’s claims? Ramon Korionoff, Public Affairs Director for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, told PEOPLE none of those supervisors had ever followed up with investigators. In fact, the cameraman himself never responded either.
“The case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence,” he told PEOPLE. “The complaining witness states there were no witnesses who actually saw the incident, however that he did inform his supervisors immediately after. He provided several contact numbers for his supervisors, however no one ever called us back. We called the complaining witness to update him, however he hasn’t returned our call.”
Representatives for Truly Original denied that though. “Truly Original responded to every request from the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and complied fully,” they said in a statement. “To clarify and correct Mr. Korionoff’s statement, two supervisors, after being subpoenaed, testified at the hearing relating to [the camerman’s] request for a peace order (the court ultimately denied [his] request for a peace order).”
“Subsequent to that, one of the supervisors was contacted by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office,” Truly Original continued. “Counsel responded to the State’s Attorney’s call on two separate occasions and the State’s Attorney failed to respond to those calls. The charges against Mr. Darby were then dropped.”
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Meanwhile, Bravo told PEOPLE exclusively that Michael has resumed filming for RHOP‘s upcoming fourth season.
Previously, after the case went public, Bravo and RHOP‘s production company Truly Original announced that they had suspended Michael from filming the show.
“Bravo has comprehensive policies and guidelines relating to the safety of cast and crew which production companies are required to follow, in addition to their own protocols they have in place,” they said in a statement. “We take all allegations seriously and then proceed accordingly with our producing partners. Bravo and Truly Original, the production company for The Real Housewives of Potomac, have suspended filming with Michael Darby.”
Throughout it all, Ashley continues to stand by her husband.
“Star light, star bright, loving you by the fire light,” she wrote on Instagram Sunday alongside a smiling selfie of the two.
She had previously shared a shot of Michael to her Instagram stories, writing, “No charges filed. No arrest made. No Bravo suspension. We’ll keep you posted.”