In March of 2021, Jen Shah of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City fame was arrested on federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. It was alleged that Shah was the ringleader of a nationwide telemarketing scheme that scammed vulnerable populations such as the elderly. She pled not guilty during her arraignment hearing and has been preparing to go to trial ever since. However, while many defendants enjoy trial delays, it looks like the reality star actually wants the trial to happen sooner rather than later.
The trial date has been pushed back a few times of late due to COVID-19 and courtroom availability. First, it was supposed to kick off last October, then in March of 2022. According to a letter obtained by Radar Online, Jen Shah’s fraud case is currently slated to be heard on July 11, and somewhat surprisingly she’s requesting for it to stay that way if possible. If she cannot have that day in court with the already-assigned judge, she wants another judge who is available to be assigned instead. Her lawyer Priya Chaudhry explained in the letter,
Having to continuously fund Jen Shah’s defense amidst these courtroom delays is likely the hardship the letter speaks of. On Season 2 of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, it in fact came out that her lawyers were asking for a $2 million retainer fee. Shah shared at the time that her mother had liquidated roughly $1 million of her retirement and her family had to downsize from the “Shah Chalet” in order to pay the lofty legal expenses.
In addition, preparation for the trial meant reviewing supposedly millions of documents in evidence, per the letter, and her legal team claims it’s been spread thin as a result. Priya Chaudhry stated that the RHSLC alum’s case has prevented their small law firm from pursuing other trials outside of this one, hence their latest request to the court.
One would normally assume that trial delays bode well for the defendant, as they are given more time to prepare as necessary. In Jen Shah’s case, it also means she has more time with her family in case a guilty verdict is rendered. Regardless, the 48-year-old has been very confident about her innocence – going so far as attempting to have the case dismissed twice – and even remarked on Instagram (via Page Six) amidst the recent Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunions airing that she was “looking forward” to her trial so everyone could “see the truth.”
To note, the Housewives franchise star’s innocence was called into question last year as events played out while Shah was filming the second season of the Bravo reality series. Nearly all of her fellow castmates had their doubts, but it was Meredith Marks’ accusations about a theft at her boutique by a Shah employee in the past that really shook the table, which Shah later denied as just an accident. Things escalated further when the group speculated that Marks had something to do with tipping off the federal agents who arrested Shah, which Marks in turn emphatically denied.
The legally embattled star is said to be facing upwards of 30 to 50 years in prison for the charges, if she is found guilty and gets the maximum sentence. We’ll have to wait and see how the case plays out when she ultimately does get her day in court.