Federal prosecutors have conceded that a years-old racketeering case against “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Manzo’s ex-husband should be dismissed — but only because they want to re-indict him on the same charges.
Attorneys for Tommy Manzo — the Garden State restaurateur accused of hiring a Mafioso to rough up Dina’s new beau in 2015 — asked a Newark federal court judge last month to drop the charges against their client, arguing he’d been denied his right to a speedy trial.
In a surprising move, the feds agreed — as long as the judge tosses the case without “prejudice” so they can bring new charges against the troubled 58-year-old from the ritzy suburb of Franklin Lakes, NJ.
“The Government concedes the [federal] Speedy Trial Act was violated and dismissal is required,” Assistant US Attorney Kendall Randolph wrote in the brief, dated Jan. 26.
“[But] the severity of Manzo’s crimes support dismissal without prejudice … so that the United States may promptly re-indict Manzo and proceed to trial on the current schedule,” Randolph said.
The prosecutor admitted in the filing that some of the holdups were the government’s fault.
But he also blamed Manzo for contributing to the delays by hiring and firing a revolving door of attorneys, which slowed the case down.
Manzo also didn’t seem to mind the holdup — he wanted to freeze the case for strategic reasons and hoped to resolve it through a plea deal, Randolph claimed.
“It is not as if the Government charged this case, then let it languish,” Randolph wrote to Judge Susan D. Wingenton, adding that it was prosecutors who actually told Manzo’s newest set of lawyers that the case had run over its allotted time.
“Simply sated, this is not an instance of bad faith or intentionally dilatory tactics,” he said.
The filings come just as proceedings appeared finally ready to move forward — nearly four years after Manzo was indicted for allegedly cutting a deal with a Lucchese Crime Family soldier to beat up his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend, David Cantin, outside a North Jersey strip mall in July 2015.
In return, the feds claimed Manzo promised the mob capo — John Perna of Cedar Grove, NJ — a deeply-discounted wedding reception at his catering hall, The Brownstone in Paterson.
“Manzo was outraged that his former wife became romantically involved with another man,” the indictment said.
“Rather than accept that, as law-abiding individuals do, Manzo wanted to extract physical revenge,” it said. “Unwilling or incapable of doing so directly, he leveraged his catering hall.”
But Manzo didn’t want Perna to rough Cantin up a little — he wanted the attack to leave Cantin with a “permanent facial scar,” the filing said.
So when Perna and another member of his crew caught up with Cantin, they used a slapjack instead of just their fists “in an attempt to inflict the permanent injury Manzo insisted upon,” Randolph wrote.
Prosecutors also claim Manzo obstructed the investigation by hiding documents that should have been turned over after a grand jury subpoena.
Perna, the son of reputed Lucchese capo Ralph Perna, served nearly three years in prison for the crime, which he pleaded guilty to in December 2020.
He was released last August, according to online prison records.
Manzo has been charged with committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering, conspiracy, and falsifying and concealing records related to a federal investigation.
Jury selection for Manzo’s case was set for April 16.
It’s not clear how a potential dismissal would affect the court schedule.
Manzo had married Dina in an over-the-top 2005 wedding chronicled on the VH1 reality series “My Big Fabulous Wedding.”
But the couple split in 2012 over his alleged infidelity, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Kim DePaola told The Post in 2020 — though the couple didn’t officially divorce until 2016.
Manzo — who is still free on bail — is also facing state charges that allege he and another man broke into Dave and Dina’s home in Holmdel, NJ in May 2017 and beat them with bats before robbing them of cash and jewelry.
The next hearing in that case is scheduled for April 29, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
This article was originally posted here