Just because Jen Shah’s trial date has been postponed doesn’t mean that her team has stopped working.
They’ll give her the most vigorous defense that money can buy — at least until Kim Kardashian joins Jen’s defense (hah!).
The latest courtroom strategy is to claim that Jen isn’t actually as rich as RHOSLC viewers think that she is.
Jen’s team is claiming that Bravo faked her life of luxury because it’s all part of the Real Housewives brand, so none of it should come up in court.
Jen Shah was not always a Real Housewife.
The series was announced at BravoCon in late 2019.
Until 2020, Jen and her husband, Sharrieff, lived in a modest, middle class home.
Jen’s home was valued at $302,069.
Even so, the Shahs sold it for $213,000 — nearly a six-figure loss — so that they could rent a $4 million home.
The purpose was to appear richer than they actually were. And you know what? It worked pretty well.
On March 1 — just one week ago — her team filed documents in court alleging that the fakery was not Jen’s doing.
Instead, it is alleged that Bravo was behind all of it, spinning a false image of Jen for their own purposes.
“‘Ms. Shah’s ‘luxurious lifestyle’ is a deliberately curated sham," her attorney asserted to the court.
The filing said that this image of Jen was "created by a master TV network."
Jen’s team characterized Bravo as a network "which specializes in selling illusions of glamour, wealth, and luxury."
As far as they are concerned, this means that none of the footage from the show can be used at trial — because it is simply not real.
“Before the government introduces a single luxury item of Ms. Shah’s," her team argued.
Team Shah asserted that "it should be required to proffer any evidence that (1) the luxury item is real (and not a fake)."
The filing continued: "(2) that the item actually belongs to Ms. Shah (and was not loaned to Ms. Shah by designers eager to use Ms. Shah for their marketing)."
"And (3) that the item was actually paid for by Ms. Shah (and not either a prop or perk from Ms. Shah’s involvement in the show)," Team Shah wrote.
"Without these necessary proofs, there is a real risk," her attorneys expressed.
Their fear is "that the government will peddle a television show’s face as ‘reality’ in front of Ms. Shah’s jury."
This is a complicated argument, but one to watch.
Whether it flies in court is of mild importance, at best.
(I mean, if Jen is going to be convicted, we would hope that it would be on evidence of fraud, not a montage of her lifestyle leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths)
But as viewers and fans of the franchise, this could offer us a rare glimpse into how things really work.
Will Bravo have to give sworn testimony on the provenance of various luxury items? Will Andy Cohen have to be a witness?
Peeking behind the curtain could tell us all how Bravo gets these dramatic moments … and how heavily they nudge things to make it all happen.
In reality television, we know that the two biggest tools for production are casting the "right" people (mostly people with poor conflict-resolution skills) and then careful editing.
But there are things that production does along the way, from what questions they ask the cast during confessionals to which group trips the ladies take.
It sounds far-fetched to hear that Bravo is responsible for inflating Jen’s apparent net worth. That said, if it’s true, why didn’t they do that for Gina Kirschenheiter?