Andy Cohen defended his initial response to Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah’s telemarketing scheme and his hope that she would get no jail time.

The TV host, 54, was interviewed by CNN’s Chris Wallace, 75, on Sunday, who said: ‘You’re on the record, last November, as saying that you hoped she would get no jail time. Why would you take her side against the thousands of people she defrauded, including a lot of elderly?’

The Bravo executive explained, ‘I think I was hoping that she was actually innocent. However Wallace quickly replied, ‘She pleaded guilty!’

Defending his words: Andy Cohen defended his initial response to Jen Shah’s nationwide telemarketing scheme and his hope that she would get no jail time in a new CNN interview

‘That was before she pleaded guilty, I mean, that I said that, I would think?’ Cohen responded to the grilling about Shah, 49.

‘No,’ Wallace countered, ‘I think it was after.’ 

‘Oh, really?’ Cohen — who serves as an executive producer on the Real Housewives franchises — replied, appearing sheepish, ‘Oh, God. Um, anyway! Wow, this is fun.’

Grilled: 'Why would you take her side against the thousands of people she defrauded, including a lot of elderly [people]?' CNN¿s Chris Wallace, 75, asked the TV host, 54, on Sunday

Grilled: ‘Why would you take her side against the thousands of people she defrauded, including a lot of elderly [people]?’ CNN’s Chris Wallace, 75, asked the TV host, 54, on Sunday

Hoping for innocence: Cohen explained, 'I think I was hoping that she was actually innocent. However Wallace quickly replied, 'She pleaded guilty!'; Shah pictured leaving Manhattan federal court on January 06, 2023 in NYC

Hoping for innocence: Cohen explained, ‘I think I was hoping that she was actually innocent. However Wallace quickly replied, ‘She pleaded guilty!’; Shah pictured leaving Manhattan federal court on January 06, 2023 in NYC

Cohen said he didn’t remember the exact ‘context’ of his comment, but said the viewers were ‘demanding’ to know Shah’s status on the show.

‘And I’m like, “It’s up to the judge. She’s about to get sentenced to a lot of jail time,’” he told Wallace, who reminded him that Shah ‘did something bad.’

‘Yes, she did. And so, she should go to jail,’ he agreed.

‘You know, sometimes, if you get to know someone and you get to like them, you hope that they are not guilty of something horrible,’ he added. 

Tense: 'That was before she pleaded guilty, I mean, that I said that, I would think?' Cohen responded to the grilling. 'No,' Wallace countered, 'I think it was after'

Tense: ‘That was before she pleaded guilty, I mean, that I said that, I would think?’ Cohen responded to the grilling. ‘No,’ Wallace countered, ‘I think it was after’

His side of the story: 'You know, sometimes, if you get to know someone and you get to like them, you hope that they are not guilty of something horrible,' he added

His side of the story: ‘You know, sometimes, if you get to know someone and you get to like them, you hope that they are not guilty of something horrible,’ he added

Cohen’s initial quote comes from a November 2022 interview with Us Weekly, where he discussed whether Shah would be back for Season 4 of RHOSLC.

‘She’s being sentenced on December 15, so I don’t know what to say to people who want her on the show. I hope that she gets no jail time whatsoever and she can come right back … but I have a feeling that she’s not going to be available to be on the show,’ he said at the time.

However Shah did not attend the Season 3 reunion and was absent from BravoCon, which took place in October 2022. She has been a cast member of RHOSLC for its entire three season run on Bravo beginning in November 2020.

Shah was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison earlier this month, for running a years-long telemarketing scheme that prosecutors say targeted the elderly and vulnerable, stripping them of their savings and maxing out their credit cards.

Prison sentence: Shah was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison earlier this month, for running a years-long telemarketing scheme that prosecutors say targeted the elderly

Prison sentence: Shah was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison earlier this month, for running a years-long telemarketing scheme that prosecutors say targeted the elderly

Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City star: The 49-year-old was one of the most bombastic characters on the Bravo series

Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City star: The 49-year-old was one of the most bombastic characters on the Bravo series

She pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in July in a dramatic defense U-Turn. She must present herself to be taken to prison on February 17, and will serve her term in a facility in Texas.

Shah herself sobbed as she read a statement to the court, claiming her reality TV persona was nothing more than an act. She vowed to raise $6.5million in restitution to make victims’ whole, and said she intended to do so from prison.

But prosecutors showed no mercy, telling the court how Shah had once laughed about the fact that one of her victims had called the company in tears over the fact that she was losing all her money. 

Shah, one of the most bombastic characters in her franchise of the Bravo reality TV series, denied any wrongdoing for months.

She then dramatically changed her plea in July following the guilty plea of her former assistant, Stuart Smith.

Reality world: Shah has been a cast member of RHOSLC for its entire three season run on Bravo beginning in November 2020; Pictured in a promo shot from Season 3

Reality world: Shah has been a cast member of RHOSLC for its entire three season run on Bravo beginning in November 2020; Pictured in a promo shot from Season 3



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