- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills -Has Erika Girardi Been Charged With Anything? Welcome To 'Housewives' Law 101
Having a BA in Real Housewives (that's a Bravo Addiction, for the uninitiated) is not quite the same as having a JD in law. A JD is a real thing, a BA is what I'd put in my Twitter bio to be funny. And while I can correctly recite every legal proceeding each Housewife of any city has been apart of since the beginning of time, understanding Erika Girardi's legal troubles have been quite a challenge. Is she in trouble? Is Tom in trouble? Is Sutton in trouble? Is any thing real anymore? I'm having a hard time keeping up!
To understand what's going on with Erika's legal woes, I first wanted to know the difference between getting charged vs. getting sued (... should I be embarrassed that I didn't know this). One thing is happening to Erika now, the other thing is just a word the internet loves to use around while watching the women wine and dine in La Quinta.
The definition comes down to whether we are talking about a criminal case or a civil case. According to lawhelp.org,
Criminal laws are the rules that apply when someone commits a crime, such as assault, robbery, murder, arson, rape and other kinds of crimes. After a person is arrested and charged with a crime, that person goes to a Criminal Court. Civil law refers to almost all other disputes—these are the rules that apply when one person sues another person, a business or agency. This can cover a housing case such as for eviction or foreclosure, a family case such as divorce or custody, consumer problems such as debt or bankruptcy, or when someone sues for money because of damage to property or personal harm. All of these cases go to a Civil Court.
Got it. Now that I have graduated with a Harvard Law Degree (... what, like it's hard?), let's figure out how it applies to Erika's situation.
- Is Erika going to jail? We talked to a lawyer (Teresa Giudice's former lawyer to be exact) back in June and he told us that it doesn't seem likely since this is a "money situation" and not a criminal one.
- Has Erika been charged with anything? Also no. Again, since Erika's legal troubles seem to be tied to the finances, it is very unlikely that she will be charged with a crime.
- Has Erika been sued? Yes. In a lawsuit filed on Aug. 26, "the trustee behind the Girardi Keese bankruptcy case sued for more than $25.5 million plus interest," according to E! News. These "borrowed" funds were used to pay for Erika's lavish lifestyle. Erika's position, according to the suit, is that since "she did not receive the payments directly from the [firm] she is not liable." On the other hand, the trustee argues that "Erika signed all of her tax returns, numerous credit card slips, and was well aware of the money she spent on the Debtor's credit cards and the Debtor's payment of her personal expenses...Her feigned willful blindness and ostrich approach to these expenditures will do absolutely nothing to limit her liability."
So now you don't need to call your lawyer (or financial and legal gurus PK Kemsley and Boy George) to ask the serious questions. You can be the PK in your friend group. And really, isn't that what we all want in life? No?