Andy Cohen Spoke Out About Jen Shah Guilty Plea, But What Do Her Real Housewives Co-Stars Think?

screenshot rhoslc
(Image credit: Bravo)

In a major 180, Jen Shah changed her plea from not guilty to guilty in the federal government’s fraud case against her. Just prior to that court hearing on July 11, the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City alum and her legal team had been pushing for a trial to happen sooner rather than later, in the interest of defending her supposed innocence in a timely manner. However, all is changed now because Shah is forgoing the trial and heading straight to sentencing via a plea agreement, which could see her face more than a decade in prison for the charges. Andy Cohen spoke out about the reversal himself, and surely Shah’s RHOSLC co-stars have something to say about it as well, right?

How Andy Cohen Reacted To Jen Shah News

The executive producer and longtime Real Housewives reunion host addressed Jen Shah’s apparent change of heart (or perhaps a change of faith in the justice system) on his radio show recently, via People. He was in conversation with actor Jonah Hill when he revealed that he didn’t exactly “know how to feel” about the guilty plea. Hill suggested that it’s a sign that the 48-year-old mother of two has finally copped to criminal wrongdoings in the telemarketing scheme she was alleged to be involved in, one that impacted mostly elderly victims. But Andy Cohen still seemed to be hedging his bets on the situation, saying,

All it means is she's changing her plea.

Was Andy Cohen implying that Jen Shah wasn’t truly guilty, per se, but just possibly hedging her own bets on the unlikelihood of an acquittal had the case gone to an expensive trial? The answer is not entirely clear, but it’s obvious that the Bravo producer and talk show host has a soft spot for the legally embattled TV personality. He shared with Jonah Hill that Shah even had sent a gift for the arrival of his new baby girl, despite everything she was and is still dealing with, which he found to be “so nice of her.”

What Do Other RHOSLC Castmates Think About Guilty Plea?

Interestingly, a few days ahead of the bombshell hearing, two of Shah's Real Housewives of Salt Lake City co-stars were in New York City with her to show support, per Page Six. The trio was rounded out by Heather Gay (who famously has always believed in Shah’s innocence) and Meredith Marks (who famously didn’t believe in Shah’s innocence at all, and was even suspected to have tipped off the feds for her arrest). Neither of the RHOSLC castmates have officially spoken out about the change to a guilty plea, so questions continue to linger if they knew what their friend was planning.

The Taste of Reality Instagram account posted an alleged screenshot of a preemptive statement made on Meredith Marks’ Stories prior to the turn of events. And judging by what made it to IG, albeit temporarily, it would seem she was all for Shah proving her innocence in court, and really didn't foresee the sudden change of plans. See here:

A source for E! News indicated that other RHOSLC cast members have been, generally speaking, just as shocked by the plea as anyone else. Supposedly, some of them are feeling “duped, misled and lied to by their friend,” especially considering how adamant Jen Shah has been about her culpability, or lack thereof, for many months now.

What Jen Shah Has Said About Fraud Charges

Ever since her jaw-dropping arrest played out in 2021 – while the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was in the midst of filming Season 2 no less – the star has continually maintained her innocence. She had been fighting the case pretty hard as a result, to include trying to block the show’s footage from impacting her trial and attempting to have the charges dismissed entirely (twice). Shah held her first non-Bravo tell-all interview this past June, after those efforts failed, where she again advocated for her innocence and had a blunt message for both the naysayers and supporters of her cause.

At the recent court hearing, though, the Bravolebrity admitted to the alleged crimes in a pre-written statement, saying she knew the telemarketing scheme’s offers had “little to no value” and that she was aware at the time that it was “wrong and illegal.” In a statement to E! News following the news, Shah’s lawyer Priya Chaudhry stated:

Ms. Shah is a good woman who crossed a line. She accepts full responsibility for her actions and deeply apologizes to all who have been harmed. Ms. Shah is also sorry for disappointing her husband, children, family, friends, and supporters. Jen pled guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.

Jen Shah has still been filming the upcoming third season of her show amidst the legal woes. (Fans can catch up on seasons past with a Peacock Premium subscription.) As reported by People, Bravo allegedly wants to keep the cameras rolling for as long as possible, as it was in the lead up to RHONJ’s Teresa Giudice going to prison for fraud charges in 2015.

Yet, the former businesswoman from Utah is anticipated to have much bigger consequences for her alleged crimes. Jen Shah in fact faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but she’s speculated to have taken a 14-year plea deal, to be coupled with financial restitution for victims. We’ll find out more when she sees official sentencing on November 28.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.