Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a woman who senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says assaulted her over her political views at a Mexican restaurant in Maryland last year.
Mary Inabinett, a 63-year-old woman from Chevy Chase, Maryland, faced charges of second-degree assault and disorderly conduct for allegedly grabbing Conway and shouting at her at an Uncle Julio’s restaurant in Bethesda on Oct. 14.
A trial was scheduled to begin Monday, but Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Kathy Knight announced during a brief court appearance that morning that her office had decided not to pursue the charges.
Inabinett did not have a criminal record and did not injure Conway, and she wrote Conway an apology letter, said Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy, according to The Washington Post.
“Was this woman rude? Yes,” McCarthy said. “Did she violate Ms. Conway’s space and try to embarrass her? Yes, and yes. Is this a case where criminal sanctions would have been appropriate? No.”
The Montgomery County Police filed the charges against Inabinett five months ago. In an interview with CNN in February, Conway claimed Inabinett approached her from behind at the restaurant, where she was attending a birthday party with her daughter.
Conway said Inabinett stood behind her, grabbed her hands, shook her and shouted, “Shame on you!”
“She was just unhinged,” Conway told CNN. “Her whole face was terror and anger. She was right here, and my daughter was right there. And she ought to pay for that. She ought to pay for that because she has no right to touch anybody.”
The restaurant’s manager told police that Inabinett had to be forcibly removed from the premises.
The Montgomery County state’s attorney’s office suggested Monday that had it decided to pursue the charges, Inabinett could have faced a fine or a term of incarceration that would have been out of proportion to her alleged actions.
“While there was touching, it was minor in nature and did not rise to the level of a prosecution,” Ramon Korionoff, public affairs director for the state’s attorney’s office, told HuffPost in a statement. “We believe this resolution is the best result for all concerned considering the evidence, circumstances and nature of this incident.”
Inabinett’s attorney, William Alden McDaniel Jr., said in a statement in February that his client hadn’t assaulted Conway and was simply exercising her First Amendment right “to express her personal opinions” about a public figure in a public place.
“The facts at trial will show this to be true, and show Ms. Conway’s account to be false,” McDaniel said in that statement.
McDaniel declined to comment for this story. The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
This story has been updated with additional comment from the Montgomery County state’s attorney’s office.