In April, Jim Marchese was arrested for domestic violence after an incident with his wife Amber on a Virgin American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York. Both Marcheses, famous for their roles on Real Housewives of New Jersey, vehemently denied the charges at the time, with Jim threatening a $100 million lawsuit for "this disgusting, hurtful defamatory act which cause the police to take such extreme action resulting in horrible rumors about the happily married couple that hurt them both personally and professionally."
That threat has become a reality, as the couple have sued the airline for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and defamation stemming from the criminal charges. So what happened that might put Virgin at fault?
Jim's arrest was based on the eyewitness report of a flight attendant, Mariah Rosser, who told officers she saw him choke Amber during pre-boarding. The Marcheses were pulled off the flight in LA, and Jim was taken into police custody, charged with domestic violence with bail set at $50,000. The felony charges were eventually dropped, and the couple released a statement in response:
"The District Attorney's office as well as the City Attorney refused to press charges after reviewing the lack of evidence in the case against James Marchese. The false eyewitness reports caused LAPD to wrongfully arrest Mr. Marchese for felony abuse, with both District Attorney and City Attorney finding no merit in the allegations. James and Amber always vehemently contended the false report from the start."
"There is no merit to this lawsuit," Virgin America spokesman Dave Arnold told Fox News in response, "and Virgin America will defend the claims made against our Teammate."
The Marcheses claim they were engaged in "flirtatious" behavior at the time, and that Rosser's statement to police was "entirely false," and made with a "reckless disregard for its truth." Even though Jim was never charged with a crime, he claims the news coverage of his arrest and release constituted a negligent infliction of emotional distress. The couple's lawyer told Reuters that the reality TV celebrites are just hoping to "vindicate their age-old right to be left alone."