Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The latest study updates from Caroline Manzo’s brother-in-law

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The state and state criminal proceedings against Thomas “Tommy” Manzo in connection with the assault of his ex-wife, former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Manzo, and her husband Dave Cantin appear to have stalled. Manzo was arraigned in a New Jersey court in May 2021 and in federal court in June 2020. None of the cases have gone to trial to date, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon.

Manzo, 57, a Franklin Lakes resident who owns The Brownstone catering facility in Paterson, was released on bail in 2021 after serving time in the Monmouth County Jail after being arrested there on state charges . He was arrested on May 11, 2021 and released on May 21, records show. His struggle to bond sparked drama in the “RHONJ” world when it was revealed that Caroline Manzo, who is married to both Dina Manzo’s sister and Tommy Manzo’s brother Albert Manzo, wrote a letter supporting his release.

According to NJ.com, Caroline Manzo called Tommy “kindhearted and caring” in a letter read during a bond hearing in court. Manzo has denied any wrongdoing to his attorney, Michael Critchely, telling NJ.com, “A reality TV show is more credible than the unsubstantiated claims against Tom Manzo. The indictment is much ado about nothing and Tom Manzo looks forward to putting an end to this nonsense in court once and for all.”

In deciding to grant him release pending trial, a “judge cited Manzo’s high profile in the community, lack of a criminal record, and numerous letters of recommendation from members of the community, including members of the clergy and law enforcement officials,” NJ.com reported. The judge added that the judge did not consider Manzo a flight risk and was already on pre-trial release in the federal case, saying it was “pretty difficult for Mr. Manzo to flee.”

It’s unclear exactly where the case stands in Monmouth County, but a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office told Heavy a trial date has not been set. Heavy has issued a public files request for an update on the hearings conducted, but has not received any documents or information as of July 2022. It wasn’t immediately clear when Manzo’s next court appearance would be.

According to a prosecutor’s press release, Manzo was charged by a grand jury with first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault, third-degree theft, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and third-degree criminal withholding. Manzo was also charged with two counts of fourth-degree stalking in connection with Dina and Dave Cantin, prosecutors said.

A Bayonne, New Jersey man, James Mainello, was also charged in 2019 with the same charges other than stalking. Prosecutors are charging Manzo with tricking Mainello and an unidentified man into conducting a home invasion at Cantin’s Holmdel home on May 13, 2017. Both Dina Manzo and her then-boyfriend Cantin were assaulted, police said.

“Holmdel Police were called to a townhouse on Banyan Boulevard in the community at approximately 10:54 p.m. on May 13, 2017, as a result of an 911 call reporting a home burglary. Police responded and arrived at the scene to find two victims who had freed themselves from zip ties after being repeatedly assaulted with a baseball bat and robbed of the couple’s new engagement ring and $500 in cash,” prosecutors said. “Initial investigations led to the arrest and indictment of attacker James Mainello in May 2019. The ongoing 4-year investigation finally uncovered Manzo’s role in pursuing both victims and his motives for the robbery and assault committed by Mainello and another as yet unknown assailant.”

According to the affidavit, Cantin and Dina Manzo were returning from celebrating Teresa Giudice’s daughter’s First Communion when they were attacked and robbed. They told police one of the attackers said, “You can get that for a guy from Paterson.”

Manzo faces up to 20 years in prison for robbery and he would have to serve 85 percent of the sentence, according to prosecutors. He also faces 5 to 10 years in prison for the other offenses. Charges against Mainello, a career criminal known as “Jimmy Balls,” are also pending.

In addition to the indictments against Monmouth County, Tommy Manzo also faces a pending case in federal court. According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Manzo was charged with committing a violent crime in support of extortion activities, conspiracy to commit a violent crime in support of extortion activities, and falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the violent crime in June 2020.

“The ex-husband of one of the stars of the Bravo television show ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ and an organized crime trooper were arrested today on charges of planning and carrying out an assault on the Bravo star’s current husband in exchange for have a lavish wedding reception,” federal prosecutors said in a press release.

His co-defendant, John Perna, a Cedar Grove, New Jersey resident who prosecutors say has ties to the Lucchese crime family, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to 30 months in prison in June 2021, according to prosecutors. According to the press release:

According to the federal prosecutor, Manzo faces up to 20 years in prison for extortion, up to three years for conspiracy and up to 20 years for forgery.

In May 2022, prosecutors and Manzo’s attorneys jointly requested and obtained a continuation of the case through August 8, 2022 to “allow defense counsel the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation in this matter,” like that of Heavy preserved court records show. The case has continued multiple times since Manzo’s arrest, and a hearing date of May 9, 2022 has been pushed back to a date not yet set, records show.

Also in May, Manzo’s bond terms were changed in federal proceedings, court filings show. U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty’s order read: “The terms of the pre-trial release of Defendant Thomas Manzo are hereby MODIFIED to vacate the $100,000.00 bail for unsecured appearance and the continued release of Defendant Thomas Manzo thereafter.” Allow cash equal to $100,000.00 security deposit. by certified check payable to the Clerk of the United States District Court.”

In September 2020, Manzo’s attorneys requested that he be allowed to travel from New Jersey to New York for work without having to file an application with the authorities:

A judge eventually sided with Manzo. He was also required to surrender his passport and travel documents and, according to records, is not allowed to have contact with Dina Manzo and Dave Cantin, as well as witnesses and his co-defendant.

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