Charges dropped in alleged assault of Kellyanne Conway at DC-area Mexican restaurant

William Cummings
Charges dropped in alleged assault of Kellyanne Conway at DC-area Mexican restaurant

WASHINGTON – Prosecutors dropped the charges against a Maryland woman accused of assaulting White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. 

Mary Elizabeth Inabinett, 63, of Chevy Chase had been scheduled for trial Monday on charges of second-degree assault and disorderly conduct related to her alleged confrontation with Conway at a Mexican restaurant outside Washington in October.

"We believe this resolution is the best result for all concerned considering the evidence, circumstances and nature of this incident,” said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County (Maryland) State’s Attorney’s Office, in a statement.

"While there was touching, it was minor in nature and did not rise to the level of a prosecution," Korionoff said. 

Inabinett allegedly grabbed Conway from behind and shook her by the shoulders while yelling "Shame on you!" and "other comments believed to be about Conway’s political views,” according to a Montgomery County police report.

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The incident occurred at Uncle Julio's in Bethesda where Conway told police she was attending a birthday party with her teenage daughter. She said the shaking lasted a few seconds but the woman yelled at her for eight to 10 minutes. 

"Somebody was grabbing me from behind, grabbing my arms, and was shaking me to the point where I felt maybe somebody was hugging me," Conway told CNN in February. "She was out of control. I don't even know how to explain her to you." 

"Her whole face was terror and anger. She was right here, and my daughter was right there. She ought to pay for that," she told CNN. 

A restaurant manager told police that Inabinett had to be forcibly removed from the restaurant. 

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In explaining the decision to drop the charges, Montgomery County prosecutor Kathy Knight said Inabinett sent Conway a letter apologizing "for choosing this time and place to vent her political views" and noted that she did not have any previous arrests. 

The incident was one of several in which members of President Donald Trump's administration have been confronted by critics when they were out in public. 

In June 2018, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant. That same month, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted at a Mexican restaurant in Washington by protesters who were enraged at the administration's child separation policy. 

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Stephen Miller, one of the chief architects and advocates of the White House's "zero tolerance" immigration policies, has been a prime target for the administration's critics. 

Protests were staged at his home in Washington and in July he told The Washington Post that he threw away an $80 sushi order after the restaurant's bartender followed him out with both middle fingers raised. And in June, a fellow patron at a Washington Mexican restaurant called him a "fascist," according to the New York Post.

Conway told The Washington Post she was previously confronted at a supermarket after moving to Washington by a man who told her, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"

Several Republican senators endured similar encounters during the contentious confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Contributing: The Associated Press 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Charges dropped in alleged assault of Kellyanne Conway at DC-area Mexican restaurant