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Meredith Marks thinks it was “risky” for Jen Shah to film “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” as her fraud case came to light.
“Whether you are guilty or not, it is so easy to say something that could be spun to incriminate you,” the reality star, 50, said Wednesday on the “#NoFilter with Zack Peter” podcast.
“And I just think it’s kind of scary. I mean, I think it’s really gutsy that she stayed on. I do,” she continued. “I don’t think I could under those circumstances.”
Last month, Shah, 48, pleaded guilty when she appeared in front of US District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan federal court, reversing her previous not guilty plea.
Under a plea deal, she admitted her guilt on one count, conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, while the US attorney agreed to drop the other count against her, conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Shah’s lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, previously told Page Six that the last-minute plea was made because Shah “wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”
Shah faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and five years of supervised release. However, the plea agreement called for only 11 to 14 years behind bars and restitution of up to $9.5 million.
Prior to the second count being dropped, she faced 50 years in prison. Her sentencing is set for November.
Shah allegedly scammed hundreds of people out of money through a nationwide telemarketing scheme. Her March 2021 arrest was documented on “RHOSLC” Season 2.
Page Six exclusively reported that Bravo cameras followed Shah leading up to her July court appearance, though Season 3 technically wrapped production earlier this year.
Marks and “RHOSLC” co-star Heather Gay met Shah in New York City ahead of her pre-trial hearing to show support. Both women grew closer to the embattled Bravolebrity while filming the latest installment of the show.
Marks, who attended law school at Northwestern University, further showed her allegiance on social media the night before the hearing, writing that “in the US, one has a right to a trial and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
The jewelry designer explained her intent behind the post with host Zack Peter.
“Honestly, I had a post on my Instagram feed, a photo with me and Heather and Jen in it and there were a lot of really vicious comments, calling Jen a criminal and all these things,” she said.
“That may be the case if you want to say that now, but when someone hasn’t pleaded guilty and they haven’t had a trial, it’s not up to me or anybody other than the jury in that case — because it was slated to be a jury trial — to make that determination.”
Marks noted that she became “frustrated” by the hate lobbed at Shah. “Because I do have a law background and, to me, it just felt like this is not what our law says,” she elaborated. “So let’s make it clear what our law does say.”
Marks admitted that she was “surprised” by the last-minute plea from Shah, who had proclaimed her innocence both on television and in court.
“Obviously I’m surprised. I think probably everybody’s surprised,” she said. “I don’t think anyone was expecting that.”
The mental health advocate, who has spent most of the summer vacationing in Europe, added that she and Shah haven’t spoken over the phone since the guilty plea.
“We’ve texted a little, but I have not had any conversations with her,” Marks revealed. “I’ve been out of the country and she’s now been getting her oldest son settled at medical school and so I have not actually talked to her.”
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