“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah asked a judge Monday to throw out the criminal charges she faces in an alleged telemarketing scheme — claiming her “dry” contact lenses led her to involuntarily waive her Miranda rights.
In new court papers filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, the reality TV personality accuses law enforcement officers of “trickery,” while slamming a “bare-bones” indictment and a “flawed theory of criminality.”
Shah, 47, was arrested in March for allegedly ripping off hundreds of victims in the scam she carried out with co-conspirators, that spanned six states and netted her $5 million in crime proceeds.
In an affidavit, she claimed that she signed a document waiving her Miranda rights — but only because “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.”
Her lawyers claim she signed the paper “as a direct result of law enforcement deception and trickery calculated to overpower her will,” the court papers say.
Shah’s lawyers also argue that there are “multiple flaws in the theory of this case [and] the investigation,” the court papers say.
Shah pleaded not guilty in April to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and is free on a $1 million bond.
If her motion to dismiss the case isn’t granted, her lawyers are asking a judge to bar the statements she made after waiving her Miranda rights from being used against her at trial.
They also want prosecutors to make more specific allegations against Shah so they can more easily build their defense case while sifting through a mountain of evidence, including more than 1.3 million documents.
“This information cannot be adequately reviewed in a lifetime, and requires, as we argue below, that the government particularize the charges in a way that this relatively bare-bones superseding indictment does not,” the court papers claim.
A spokesman for the Manhattan US Attorney’s office declined to comment.
Shah, her assistant Stuart Smith and others are accused of targeting elderly people by asking them to invest in online projects and to buy phony business services such as tax preparation, coaching sessions and website design services in a scheme that began in 2012 and ran through as recently as March.
“Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,’” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh alleged in a statement at the time of her arrest.
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