Can Jen Shah succeed in keeping RHOSLC footage out of her trial?

Jen Shah
Jen Shah is trying to get RHOSLC footage banned from her trial. Pic credit: Bravo

Jen Shah filed a new motion to request The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City footage not be shown during her upcoming wire fraud and money laundering trial. Experts are now weighing in as to whether this is possible.

The filing comes days after Bravo released an explosive trailer for the three-part reunion, where Andy Cohen grills Jen about her arrest and impending trial.

Jen’s legal team is also attempting to block claims that she directed former assistant Stuart Smith to lie during a Federal Trade Commission deposition.

Jen and Stuart were arrested in April 2021, with both initially pleading not guilty, although Stuart later changed his plea to guilty.

Legal experts say Jen’s request is unlikely to be granted

Speaking to Fox News, several legal experts weighed in on her motion to have RHOSLC footage banned from the trial and whether her request would be approved.

“You can always put the defendant’s statements into evidence. It’s called an ‘admission of a party opponent,'” said Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor who is not involved in the case.

He added, “It doesn’t matter that it was on a reality TV show or any TV show or it was given to Homeland Security Investigations’ agents or some other third party. Those can come in. There’s no exclusion because it was on TV.”

Shah’s legal team claimed that clips of her on RHOSLC “do not have any of the indicia of reliability” because the show is “highly curated and edited to satisfy” the show’s storylines.

Rahmani said Jen’s legal team “can argue those are not her statements … or they were edited in a way to make them inaccurate, then the judge may exclude them on that basis.”

However, he added, “The unedited raw footage, it’s there, it exists, so there’s no way she’s going to be able to keep that out.”

“The defense can argue that it’s all staged, but that’s an argument you make to a jury, it’s not going to keep that footage out entirely.”

Lara Yeretsian, a criminal defense attorney who is also not involved in the case, thinks the judge could permit “unedited comments, as long as they’re not rehearsed” to be submitted during the trial.

However, she maintained that the footage needed to be “related to the charges involved” and that Jen’s statements couldn’t be “scripted” or “edited.” 

“It’s very dependent on what it [the prosecution] is trying to bring in,” she said. “I think most of it should not come in, but again if there are specific things related to the charges, those may come in as long as they’re unrehearsed and not edited.”

“The jury should only hear things that are true and reliable information … but again, it would really be up to the judge,” she concluded.

Jen’s team filed the claim just weeks before the trial starts

Jen is set to go on trial on March 22. She is the only member of her self-proclaimed Shah Squad that has not pleaded guilty and will be the only one to stand trial.

Stuart initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty in November 2021 and is set to be sentenced in March. One of the 13 defendants charged, Chad Allen, also changed his plea to guilty.

Jen could be sentenced to 50 years total for both charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering if found guilty.

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on Bravo.

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