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Case dismissed against California real estate agent accused of rape

Updated May 13, 2021 - 3:57 pm

Prosecutors have dismissed a rape case in Las Vegas against a prominent Southern California real estate agent accused in a series of alleged assaults that authorities previously said spanned more than a decade “in numerous locations around the United States.”

Court records show that the case against Michael Lee Bjorkman, 48, was dismissed Thursday in Las Vegas Justice Court, about two months after he initially was charged with two counts of sexual assault. Bjorkman faced the possibility of life in prison had he been convicted.

In a statement Thursday to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Clark County district attorney’s office said: “After charges were filed in this case, we received additional information and evidence that led us to believe that we cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, it is our ethical obligation to dismiss the charges. We will not be proceeding with this case.”

Further details regarding the decision were not disclosed, but according to Bjorkman’s attorney, David Chesnoff, “a presentation” to law enforcement following an investigation conducted by the real estate agent’s defense team led to the dismissal.

“We’re very gratified that we were able to see justice done here,” Chesnoff said Thursday in a phone call with the Review-Journal. “He was patient and put his hands in the justice system, and it worked out well for him as it should have.”

Bjorkman maintains his innocence, Chesnoff said.

The charges were filed in March after the Metropolitan Police Department received a report from a woman who claimed she had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Bjorkman during a real estate convention last summer in Las Vegas.

What followed, according to a 27-page arrest report for Bjorkman, was a monthslong investigation into the real estate agent, who primarily is based in the Los Angeles area but often travels for work to attend real estate conferences and trainings around the country.

Metro’s findings also prompted a rape investigation into Bjorkman by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. That case remained open Thursday, Lt. John Adams said.

According to the Metro arrest report, Bjorkman’s Las Vegas accuser told police that she had gone to a dinner with other convention attendees, and while eating “began feeling extremely intoxicated after having only one drink earlier in the evening.” It is the last thing she could remember from the evening, she said, before waking up the next morning in her hotel room — “alone and nude,” according to the report.

It goes on to describe several more instances, reported to the detective by others in the real estate business, of people waking up in their hotel rooms, naked or partially clothed, with no memory of the previous night. The alleged assaults began as early as 2000, the report states.

As word spread in the real estate industry of the alleged Las Vegas assault, “more men and women came forward, claiming they believed they were drugged at real estate events around the United States,” according to the report.

The sexual assault allegations primarily were made by women, the report shows, although at least two men told Las Vegas police that they believed they were drugged due to severe lapses in memory during past real estate events.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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