A federal judge has agreed to delay Thomas Manzo’s federal case until at least December 2022, a new court filing obtained by Heavy reveals. Manzo is accused of orchestrating an attack on his ex-wife, former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Manzo Cantin and her husband, Dave Cantin. He is also awaiting trial on state charges.
The case led to a split between Dina Cantin and her sister, fellow former “RHONJ” star Caroline Manzo, and has also reportedly contributed to the divide between Caroline Manzo and Teresa Giudice. Caroline Manzo is also married to Tommy Manzo’s brother, Albert Manzo.
According to NJ.com, Caroline Manzo wrote a letter of support for her brother-in-law while he was being held in custody on the state charges. She called him “kind-hearted and caring” in her letter, according to the news outlet. He was later freed on bond and is also on pre-trial release in the federal case, according to court records.
The Federal Judge Delayed the Next Hearing in Manzo’s Case Until December 8, 2022
On August 8, 2022, U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty granted a joint motion for a continuance filed by federal prosecutors in New Jersey and Thomas Manzo’s defense attorneys, according to court documents obtained by Heavy. McNulty set next hearing in the case for December 8, 2022.
The case has now been continued five times, according to court documents. McNulty said in his order that he agreed to the delay because Manzo agreed to the continuance and the defense needs a “reasonable amount of additional time” to prepare because of the “facts of the case.” McNulty added that the “ends of justice served by granting the continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.”
Tommy Manzo was first charged in federal court in June 2020. The 57-year-old Franklin Lakes resident, who owns The Brownstone catering hall in Paterson, was indicted on charges of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and falsifying and concealing records, court records show.
He was then arrested again in May 2021 and charged in New Jersey state court with being an accomplice to first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault, third-degree theft, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and third-degree criminal restraint, along with fourth-degree stalking.
Tommy Manzo is accused in state court of getting two men to carry out a home invasion at Dave Cantin’s home in Holmdel, New Jersey, in May 2017. Dina and Dave Cantin were attacked and tied up during the robbery and the suspects fled with cash and an engagement ring. The federal case centers around accusations that Manzo hired a mobster to assault Dave Cantin in exchange for a discount on his wedding.
“The ex-husband of one of the stars of the Bravo television show ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ and an organized crime soldier were arrested today on charges of planning and carrying out an assault of the Bravo star’s current husband in exchange for a lavish wedding reception,” federal prosecutors said in a press release after his arrest. John Perna, Manzo’s co-defendant, has since pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
Manzo Has Denied the Charges
Manzo has maintained his innocence since his first arrest. His attorney, Michael Critchely, told NJ. com, “A reality TV show is more believable than the baseless claims against Tom Manzo. The indictment is much ado about nothing and Tom Manzo looks forward to ending this nonsense once and for all at trial.”
He was freed on $100,000 bond after the federal charges. He spent some time in the Monmouth County jail before a judge also agreed to release him in that case, according to NJ.com. The news site wrote, that the “judge cited Manzo’s high profile in the community, lack of criminal record and numerous letters of reference from members of the community, including members of the clergy and law enforcement.”
In September 2020, Manzo asked a judge to allow him to travel to New York for work, according to court documents obtained by Heavy:
We write to seek modification of Mr. Manzo’s conditions of bail such that he be permitted to travel to the State of New York without first seeking permission from Pre-Trial Services. Mr. Manzo, who is in the catering business, does a great deal of catering work in New York, including for clients such as Memorial Sloan Kettering and Staten Island University Hospital. In addition, Mr. Manzo has an ownership interest in several properties located in New York, and, prior to his arrest, Mr. Manzo sought medical treatment from his cardiologist in New York. Because Mr. Manzo does not pose a flight risk, nor a danger to others, we respectfully ask that the Court modify his bail conditions.
To date, Mr. Manzo has complied with all terms of his release, including providing PreTrial Services with further information regarding his finances to the satisfaction of Pre-Trial Services, as well as submitting to a home check. Accordingly, Andrew Dziopia, Mr. Manzo’s Pre-Trial Services Officer, has indicated that he does not have any objection the modification of bail conditions sought by Mr. Manzo. Unfortunately, the Government has advised that it objects.
In the state case, Manzo could face up to 20 years in prison on the robbery charges and an additional 5 to 10 years in prison on the other felony charges if convicted. He also faces several decades in prison on the federal charges if he is convicted of those.
It was not immediately clear as of August 8 when Manzo is next scheduled to appear in court in connection to the state charges in New Jersey or when a trial could be held. A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told Heavy in July that there is no trial date set in that case.