"The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Jen Shah is accusing authorities of "trickery" in her arrest earlier this year, and she claims that "dry" contact lenses caused her to involuntarily waive her Miranda rights.
Jen is asking a judge to toss her case, in which she's been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a telemarketing scheme.
Page Six obtained court papers wherein the reality TV star argues that her indictment was "bare-bones" and a "flawed theory of criminality." She also says poor eyesight resulted in her accidentally waiving her Miranda rights.
"My contact lenses, which were in my eyes, were dry, and I did not have my reading glasses, so my vision was blurry and I was unable to read the paper in front of me," she said. In the new legal documents, her lawyers claim Jen signed the papers "as a direct result of law enforcement deception and trickery calculated to overpower her will."
Last April, an indictment out of the Southern District of New York claimed that Jen and her assistant, Stuart Smith, ripped off hundreds of victims across the country, mainly elderly people, by encouraging them to invest in online projects and selling them phony business services for years. They are alleged to have complied lists of "leads," who were people previously exploited. They then allegedly shared those victims' names with co-conspirators who could exploit the "leads" again. Jen and Stuart would then supposedly take a cut.
The Homeland Security Investigations Agency said in a statement that Jen and Stuart "built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people."
If convicted, Jen and Stuart could face 30 years in prison.
Jen, though, argues there are "multiple flaws in the theory of this case [and] the investigation." In fact, she says she was confused about the arrest and thought authorities were speaking with her about a 2017 case when she was a victim of theft and assault.
"I was at this point very confused and emotionally off-balance from the strange series of events, and thought I might have been the victim of a false identification," she said, further alleging that officers weren't forthright during the arrest and didn't tell her she was being recorded.
"I did not know the purpose of the conversation or what, if anything, I was being charged with until close to the end of the 1 hour, 20-minute interrogation, shortly after Det. Bastos said, 'I want to conclude,'" she claimed in the affidavit.
The officer, the docs claim, implied he wanted to help Jen. However, they say the cop had ulterior motives. "He well knew that he would be taking Ms. Shah to a magistrate judge that day based on her having been indicted in New York," the paperwork says. "To be sure, he desperately did want to talk with her — but he did not just want to do so."
Jen has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
Page Six notes that Jen's lawyers are asking a judge to bar the statements she made after waiving her Miranda rights from being used against her at trial if the case isn't dismissed.