Real Housewives Star Erika Jayne Girardis Legal Problems to Be Focus of ABC News Original for Hulu

The trials and tribulations of Erika “Jayne” Girardi of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” are now being examined in an ABC News Original special for Hulu. “The Housewife and the Hustler” will premiere on the streaming service on June 14. The teaser trailer for “The Housewife and the Hustler,” set to the Fergie song “Glamorous,” indicates that the investigation’s tone will be a departure from ABC News’ recent, highly praised series “Soul of a Nation,” which examined Black life in the United States.

According to the press release for “The Housewife and the Hustler,” “ABC News Originals goes inside the real-life legal drama facing the husband of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ cast member Erika Jayne, legal titan Tom Girardi. Once considered a crusader of justice, Girardi now stands accused of embezzling from the victims he swore to protect.”

The Girardis — who split in November when Erika filed for divorce — are facing potentially disastrous legal problems after involuntary bankruptcy cases were filed against Tom and his law firm, Girardi Keese, in December 2020, after several lawsuits revealed that he has allegedly stolen millions of dollars from his clients. Erika has been on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” since 2015, and though she’s always hovered above the drama among the women on the show, this new season of the Bravo show might bring an end to that. Her other castmates, perhaps smelling blood, appear to be doing investigations of their own.

ABC News’ Steven Baker is the executive producer of the special.

“The Housewife and the Hustler” announcement promises talking heads from the Los Angeles legal scene, including Chris Darden, who unsuccessfully prosecuted the O.J. Simpson murder. It will also feature “Real Housewives” expert Heather McDonald, as well as Danielle Staub of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and Dana Wilkey, a former “friend” on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

Including both women surely caused snickers, if not side-eyes, in the “Real Housewives” fandom. Staub, an original “New Jersey” cast member, has had legal problems of her own, and hasn’t been on “New Jersey” since she violently pulled the hair of fellow castmate Margaret Josephs on camera (after being encouraged to do so by Teresa Giudice, in a surprise reveal). And Wilkey, who was also accused of fraud, did not cross over with Erika, and is most famous for a scene on “Beverly Hills” in which she bragged about having $25,000 sunglasses. Wilkey was also called “Pam” by an addled Kim Richards.

A recent Variety story detailed the legal jeopardy the Girardis are in, as well as the risk Erika is taking by continuing to be on the show.

Zev Shechtman, a bankruptcy attorney from the Los Angeles firm Danning Gill, said: “It’s unwise. Anything that she does that flaunts her wealth, which is ostensibly everything she does, will be evidence against her. All of the assets, all the property that she has, is going to be a target. Everything that she does will be subject to scrutiny. And it’s not scrutiny in the tabloid sense, it’s scrutiny in the liability sense.”

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