For more than a year, Jen Shah has maintained her innocence regarding conspiracy to commit fraud using electronic means and money laundering charges against her. But in a shocking turn of events, the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star recently changed her plea in court. As a result, she is heading straight for sentencing in November, and almost certainly faces some amount of jail time. (Estimated to be between 14 and 30 years old.) Nevertheless, the question remains: what does all this mean for her participation in the Bravo show?
Technically, “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” has been filming season 3 for several months. Jen Shah is among the returning cast alumni, so we know that at least some of her legal troubles of late will be documented, as they were in the second season. According to a People source, the fraud case is actually a “very big part” of Shah’s future storylines. However, will she also be part of a potential fourth season? The source claimed:
The producers don’t want us to stop following this now. They will shoot with her as much as they can, just like with Teresa [Giudice].
As many people remember, Teresa Giudice was accused by the federal government of fraud, similar to Jen Shah, back in 2014, along with her husband Joe Giudice. She made a plea deal that eventually sent her to prison for almost a full year. The mother of four filmed “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” until she had to give up, and her family (some of whom are colleagues on the reality show) continued to do so after that. Presumably, Bravo would really like to make the same arrangement with Jen Shah.
However, the marketing director’s expenses are much higher than Teresa Giudice’s, so any return (as it was with Giudice) will be far away. It is likely that RHOSLC will present Jen Shah in season 4 in some capacity, based on the footage that has already been filmed by the network, and since she is still many months away from sentencing. But anything more is most likely just wishful thinking.
Jen Shah’s one and only candid interview on the subject, outside of Bravo, took place just a few weeks before she pleaded guilty. At that moment, she was still pointing out her innocence in her sharply worded message to the skeptics. So many are wondering why, then, such a sharp change of views from the TV presenter? Some suggest that the conviction of fellow reality TV stars Todd and Julia Chrisley (again, on similar charges) in June was a serious warning to Shah about her chances if she also takes her case to court. In truth, Teresa Giudice’s former lawyer also warned of the problems that await the Shah’s case in court.
Andy Cohen, executive producer of the “Real Housewives” franchise and longtime host of the reunion, initially reacted to the rejection of the accusation with a slight ambivalence. Meanwhile, her film colleagues in Salt Lake City are mostly silent about the situation. More recently, however, Cohen continued his previous statements, saying on his radio show (via people) that he was “especially upset about her victims” and that “she lied for so long.” He claims he cheered Jen Shah on because of her adamant innocence. The 54-year-old talk show host added:
I’ve already said this before I say it again: if you have something to hide, reality TV can’t be the way out.
Some viewers believe that Jen Shah should be fired from the show immediately because of her (now formal) admission of guilt in a nationwide telemarketing scheme that allegedly harassed the elderly and others. Meghan McCain, who has previously advocated for “justice” for Erica Jane of RHOBH and her legal troubles, has supported calls for Shah’s removal, according to her article for The Daily Mail. Given the fact that Jenny Nguyen was fired earlier this year from RHOSLC for a racial scandal, and her co-star Mary Cosby allegedly left of her own free will after her own disagreements, this does not bode well for the fraudster.
Let’s see how all this will develop in the coming months. Past seasons of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” are currently available for streaming on Peacock Premium.