Will ‘Real Housewives’ star Jen Shah be able to prevent TV footage of her fraud trial? Legal experts intervene


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Not so “Shah-mazing”. ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ star Jen Shah’s upcoming fraud trial doesn’t look too good for the reality TV star, a legal expert says.

The Bravo TV personality faces multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.

Ahead of his trial, which begins March 22, Shah’s legal team filed a motion asking that clips from the series not be aired.

“There are no circumstances in which a clip of Jen Shah of her appearance on the ‘RHOSLC’ should be used in court as such clips show no indicia of reliability,” her lawyers said. They explained that the reality show is “highly curated and edited to satisfy” its storylines, according to People magazine.

‘REAL HOUSEWIVES’ STAR JEN SHAH PLEDGES TO FIGHT CHARGES IN COURT, NOT IN THE PRESS

Fox News Digital spoke to several legal experts to see how likely Shah’s request is to be approved — or denied — by a judge.

According to Neama Rahmani, who is a former federal prosecutor and is not involved in the case, “you can always put in evidence the statements of the accused”. This is called a “confession by a party opponent”.

Not so “Shah-mazing”. Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah’s fraud trial, which is fast approaching, doesn’t look too good for the reality TV star, a legal expert says.
(Getty Images)

“So to the extent that Shah makes claims about ‘Real Housewives’, those can come in,” noted Rahmani, who is the chairman of West Coast Trial Lawyers. “It doesn’t matter if it’s on a reality show or any TV show or if it was given to Homeland Security Investigations agents or some other third party. Those can get in. It doesn’t matter. there’s no exclusion because it was on TV.”

Speaking on the defense argument, Rahmani acknowledged that while Shah’s legal team “can argue that these are not his statements…or that they have been edited in such a way as to make them inaccurate, the judge can exclude them on that basis”. However, the government can still subpoena the raw footage.

“Things are bad for Jen Shah.”

— Neama Rahmani, former federal prosecutor who is not involved in the Shah case

“Raw unedited footage, it’s there, it exists, so there’s no way she can keep it out,” Rahmani said. In the event that Shah claims that “producers encouraged [her] to say things that weren’t true for television purposes,” Rahmani explained, that’s what is considered “weight” and not “admissibility,” which the defense will have to argue in front of the jury. .

JEN SHAH HIT WITH MOTION TO ALLOW EVIDENCE OF HOW SHE SPENT ALLEGED FRAUD FUNDS

“The defense can argue that it’s all staged, but that’s an argument you’re making to a jury, it’s not going to completely stop that streak,” he said. Simply put, from Rahmani’s perspective, “there is no good legal basis to exclude this evidence. It is coming.”

Reality series cast member Jen Shah "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" looks on while being chased out of the federal courthouse on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in Salt Lake City. Shah's trial begins next month.

Jen Shah, cast member of the reality television series “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” looks on while being kicked out of the federal courthouse Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in Salt Lake City. Shah’s trial begins next month.
(Associated Press)

Meanwhile, Lara Yeretsian, a California-based criminal defense attorney, also said the judge could allow “unedited comments, as long as they are not repeated” in the trial. However, Yeretsian stressed that the images must be “related to the charges at issue” and that Shah’s statements cannot be “scripted” or edited”.

“It depends a lot on what it is [the prosecution] trying to bring in,” said Yeretsian, who is also not involved in the case. “I think most shouldn’t come in, but again, if there are specific things related to the charges , these may enter as long as they are ‘unrepeated and unedited.”

Yeretsian also noted that “the jury should only hear true and reliable information…but again, that would really be up to the judge.”

Bravo TV personality Jen Shah is facing multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.

Bravo TV personality Jen Shah is facing multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.
(Chad Kirkland/Bravo)

Unfortunately for Shah, the images “cannot be used to help him”. “The only way for her to get her story out is to speak up and testify,” Rahmani said. “If there’s an argument that, ‘Look, the prosecution is only playing one clip and the jury has to see the whole video to really give it context,’ that’s called the rule of completeness – the judge can put the whole clip or a particular clip in evidence.”

In 2021, the New York Police Department said in a statement at the time of Shah’s arrest that the number of victims that Shah and his “first aide” Stuart Smith allegedly duped was in the “hundreds” and noted that the alleged fraud lasted nearly a decade, starting in 2012.

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Stuart Smith pleaded guilty and is expected to be sentenced next month.

“The fact that her assistant pleaded guilty is terrible for her, so Smith’s guilty plea…it’s really bad when you have a co-defendant pleading,” Rahmani noted. “Things are bad for Jen Shah.”


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