Teresa Giudice’s Former Attorney Exposes Bravo’s Agenda To Make ‘RHONJ’ Felon Appear Remorseful For Her Crimes!

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All About the Tea_James Kridel Exposes Bravos Agenda To Make The RHONJ Felon Appear Remorseful For Her Crimes

[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered” color=”#3366ff”]“Teresa was begging me to do that [appearance on Bravo] to help her because Bravo was getting heat over her bankruptcy and they were going to defuse it somehow by showing her seeing the lawyer and doing the right thing,” James Kridel, Teresa’s former bankruptcy attorney, explained to me. [/otw_shortcode_quote]

Extrajudicial (out-of-court) speech by lawyers who represent high-profile individuals is a hot-button issue, especially when it comes to The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice. That a lawyer should not argue their case outside the courtroom has long been a basic principle of the legal profession. However not everyone follows the spirit of the law.

Who Is In The Driver’s Seat?

Carlos Cuevas publicly chastised James Kridel for appearing on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I wonder what he would think of James Leonard’s current role and specifically, how Leonard publicly speaks about Teresa and Joe’s cases on the series. Ceuvas, the lawyer hired to litigate Teresa’s legal malpractice claim against Kridel contended, “Defendant Kridel’s conduct in permitting his consultations to be aired on national television reflect that he was more interested in promoting himself than protecting plaintiff Giudice, his client.” We know that not to be the case. More to the point, how would Cuevas respond when cornered with the statements Leonard has provided to the media and how Leonard uses his airtime on the show? 

READ: Attorney James Kridel Responds To Teresa Giudice’s Newly Filed NJ Legal Malpractice Action [EXCLUSIVE]

James Leonard’s Twitter profile photo shows him together with Andy Cohen and Teresa Giudice in front of a Bravo (Watch What Happens Live) Step and Repeat banner. Carlos Cuevas has appeared on TV numerous times to discuss Teresa’s case and he has given statements to the press.  Are Bravo and some attorneys strange bedfellows?

James Leonard Twitter profile photo

There are no accidents in reality TV. Kridel told me he wanted to limit his on-camera legal discussions to only those items already part of the public record. If you remember, when Teresa and Joe went to Kridel’s law office, Kridel referred to an unsealed order from the court.

“No strategy was discussed on-air. This was all done via Bravo and her request. I refused to do 80% of what they wanted me to do. We did that to accommodate our client. We didn’t seek any publicity from that,” Kridel remarked. What has been Bravo’s role in setting forth a narrative concerning Teresa Giudice?

Advocating in the court of public opinion is a defining characteristic of some attorneys in modern times. Today we encounter the lawyer as self-promoter, marketing their identity for fame and profit. Some lawyers are more show business than litigators. 

The lawyer as a willing participant on unscripted series demonstrates that the line is often blurred between the reality of lawyering and lawyers on reality TV.  Publicity is a two-way street: You can have a powerful commercial or a disaster.

Over the past decade, the media fixation with pursuing crime stories involving raw human emotion, greed, crime and money has risen. While the rules of Professional Responsibility caution lawyers from contacting the media, many attorneys step into the spotlight because they are either pushed or need no pushing.

The American Bar Association allows an attorney to make a necessary response, within the scope of the ethical rules, to protect a client from undue prejudicial effects of recent publicity. The question is, how much should a lawyer or a network lobby for someone enmeshed in legal drama? 

Harsh Reality

“I was scolded by talking about her overseas trip,” James Kridel asserts.  In 2011, Teresa was accused of starting a fight with a woman in an allegedly booze-fueled brawl in the Dominican Republic. At the time, a reporter called James Kridel and he gave a comment.

Bravo was apparently infuriated, according to Kridel. They did not want him making any declarations about Teresa’s behavior in the Caribbean. Parties involved in the scuffle accused Bravo of fostering “hostility and violence in order to attract viewers.”

Reality television networks and producers have been repeatedly sued under many causes of action, including defamation, publication of private facts, commercial appropriations of a name or likeness, and breach of confidence. What degree of control should networks like Bravo have over their cast members?

One has to wonder, when we know that Teresa swore under oath that everything in her bankruptcy petition was true and accurate and she took full responsibility for her crimes in court, could she be using the legal malpractice lawsuit to keep her name in the press. Is Teresa a celebrity who relishes filing lawsuits to grab headlines? Is the grievance she filed against Kridel cultural capital that Teresa needs now, as her businesses seem to have dwindled? 

Context allows us to have a broader understanding about this subject. Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is currently seeking to overturn his 2012 conviction as a serial sexual predator — he was imprisoned for sexually abusing 10 boys — by testifying that his original attorney misled him into giving an unflattering TV interview. Sandusky testified on August 12 during an appeals hearing that his legal team didn’t properly represent him. Newsflash: Lawyers cannot alter facts nor can they be blamed for an undesired outcome. If the evidence supports a conviction or a guilty plea, a lawyer’s handling of the case cannot change all that.

Crisis Management

Here is the clincher: Many attorneys are NOT public relations experts. Granted, they may be skilled at persuasion and litigation, but that doesn’t mean a lawyer is proficient in advocating on a client’s behalf in a public forum.

When a lawyer does not have a strong public relations background, it is necessary to seek the help of a PR expert to provide advice about possible statements to the media, which could range from “no comment” to detailed factual presentations. It isn’t always clear whether the client should speak to the media at all, and if so, whether to do it personally or through representatives.

Lawyers have reasons to talk about litigations outside of the courtroom, which may include communications designed to: (a) protect a client’s reputation and (b) respond to damaging information released by an adversary or third party. Indeed, there may be times when lawyers are obligated to make public statements on behalf of their clients as part of their ethical obligation to zealously represent them but beware!

A lawyer who makes statements outside the courtroom can face the threat of liability from their client based on defamation, tortious interference with contract, and tortious interference with actual or prospective business relations, due to the topic or recipient of the out-of-court communications.

The overarching principle governing extrajudicial communications by lawyers is to avoid prejudicing pending proceedings and to preserve the parties’ right to a fair trial. We want to hear your verdict. Grab your gavel, join the conversation, and tell us what you think about Bravo’s role in Teresa’s legal messes and what legal spin control, if any, is appropriate.


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