While U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Russell doesn’t believe that the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ star is aware of the stolen funds, she is still obligated to give up the gift.
AceShowbiz –Erika Jayne must return a pair of diamond earrings from her estranged husband, Tom Girardi. Despite maintaining her innocence for months, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is ordered to give up the $750,000 pieces after a judge ruled that they were purchased with stolen funds.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Russell made the decision during a hearing on Tuesday, June 28. Barry stated that the “settlement funds from the trust account created for a class action handled by Thomas’ firm Girardi Keese were used to pay for the diamond earrings.”
The judge noted that he didn’t believe that the singer/TV personality was aware of the issue. Still, she is obligated to return the gift allegedly bought by her ex in March 2007 with money from a client’s trust account.
Addressing the ruling, former attorney for the trustee Ronald Richards told Page Six, “The ruling was a major milestone in the quest to recover stolen assets by the Girardis.” Ronald added, “It does not matter whether Erika knew they were stolen client funds or not. This ruling will be used in the future aspects of the case and is now the law of the case.”
Erika’s lawyer Evan Borges, meanwhile, told Us Weekly, “Erika is facing consequences for past actions taken by Tom Girardi and Girardi Keese. Erika did nothing wrong.” Evan continued, “In fact, the judge specifically found no fault or knowledge on the part of Erika regarding the actions by Tom Girardi and his partners at the law firm.”
“Legally, the judge’s decision raises an important issue of whether the law allows revisiting transactions of 15 years ago to take away a gift received by an innocent spouse,” the attorney further elaborated. “But that’s for a higher court to decide.”
Evan previously insisted that his client was “completely innocent” because she didn’t know that her 83-year-old ex purchased the lavish gift using money he stole from client funds.
“Erika, a non-attorney who had no role in managing [Tom’s firm Girardi & Keese], should not have to be the one arguing for full investigations and discovery into what GK did in the past,” Evan said in a court statement. “The trustee seeks to blame Erika for events of 15 years ago at a law firm in which Erika had no part.”
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