- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills -Could Erika Girardi Go To Jail? Teresa Giudice's Former Lawyer Weighs In
Things aren't looking great for Erika Girardi. Following ABC News' damning documentary, The Housewife and the Hustler, Erika Girardi's attorneys have withdrawn their representation, leaving her without legal counsel in the bankruptcy case against her estranged husband, Tom Girardi. So, what now? While her lawyers quitting is definitely not good news, it doesn't mean Erika Girardi is going to jail or even leaving Beverly Hills (adjacent) just yet.
Erika's lawyers filed official documents to withdraw representation on Tuesday, June 15, citing the erosion of "the relationship of trust and confidence," and calling the harm "irreparable," as reported by People. While not explicitly confirmed as a response to The Housewife and the Hustler, the fact that this motion came the day after the documentary's release is raising eyebrows. (The Dipp reached out to Girardi for comment following the documentary and did not hear back in time for publication.)
The doc, which focused on Tom Girardi's alleged embezzlement and fraud, raised questions about Erika's involvement in her husband's potential crimes. Most notably, the report pointed out Erika's legal ties to her husband's finances, with her husband's company investing millions of dollars in Erika.
Losing legal representation in a multi-million dollar bankruptcy case against your estranged husband is never a good sign, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything particularly dire for Erika. To be clear, this is not a criminal proceeding (though it could, eventually, lead to one). Most importantly, Erika has not been formally charged with any crimes, and her representation in this case is just to try to protect her assets from being sold off to pay off Girardi's debts. And if that representation is no more, well, then her assets could be up for grabs.
As Teresa Giudice's former lawyer, James L. Leonard told Christian Gray Snow on The Slut Pig Podcast a few weeks ago, "this is a money situation," not a criminal one as it pertains to Erika. Based on his knowledge of the case, Leonard said that it doesn't seem likely that Erika be charged with any criminal activity, but cautioned that she could be "hit with any of the civil liabilities" — aka lawsuits involving money. "I think Erika Jayne is probably going to be fine when all this is said and done," he concluded. "I think it's gonna cost some money, and then everybody's going to move on."
Leonard's assessment of the situation might be a little bit optimistic, however, as Erika's involvement in her husband's bankruptcy case has only gotten more complex since this whole thing began. In April, a trustee for Girardi's personal bankruptcy hired a lawyer to "seek recovery of estate assets from Erika or third-party transferees of Erika." So, already, all of Erika's shared assets with her husband are under threat — though, as Sunny Hostin pointed out in the doc, Erika is claiming that some of these are not shared items, but "gifts to her," making them her property.
Per Law.com, later that same month, the bankruptcy trustee for Girardi's law firm, Girardi Keese, followed suit, appointing its own special counsel to look into the transfers (or investments) made to Erika's businesses. "Continuing investigation may reveal that assets of the debtor were transferred to Erika Girardi," the trustee wrote in a legal motion to appoint the special counsel. "The trustee believes that the Erika transfers will be recoverable under applicable state and federal law." So, in other words, it looks like Erika could be on the hook for the $20 million investment she reportedly received from her husband's company. And without representation in her husband's bankruptcy case, her financials could take a very serious hit. As Law360 reporter Brandon Lowrey stated in The Housewife and the Hustler, "[Erika] could come out on top, or she could get dragged in and end up in a whole lot of debt."
And this is just the bankruptcy case. Erika and her husband are also currently facing a lawsuit alleging that the Girardis' divorce is a fraud to hide assets from potential victims. If, as Leonard suggested, everything is going to work out alright for Erika, well, it seems like it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.