‘RHONJ’ Star Dina Manzo’s Ex Found Guilty of Gang Assault Against Her New Husband

The ex-husband of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Cantin (formerly Manzo) was convicted Tuesday of orchestrating an attack nearly nine years ago on the TV star’s new romantic partner -reality.

Thomas Manzo, 59 years old, was convicted of conspiracy, falsifying and concealing records in connection with a federal investigation and committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said in a press release.

Manzo hired John Perna, a “soldier” in the Lucchese crime family, to attack and injure Dina’s boyfriend (now husband), Dave Cantin, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in a statement. Manzo gave Perna a free wedding reception at a venue he owned in exchange for the attack, then hid and falsified documents related to a federal investigation into the assault, Sellinger said.

“The facts and circumstances of this case sound like those from a bad television detective series, but the evidence and testimony presented in court prove that it was true,” said Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy. FBI office in Newark. A declaration. “We sincerely hope that the victims of this investigation can move on with their lives and forget about Manzo and his criminal mafia bedfellows.”

Manzo’s attorneys, Marc Agnifilo and Zach Intrater, did not respond to requests for comment.

Dina and Thomas married in the mid-2000s, in a wedding broadcast on a VH1 reality show. They remained together for much of Dina’s run on “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” where she was a main cast member for the first two seasons, in 2009 and 2010, and returned in seasons 4 and 6.

Dina was one of the first stars of “RHONJ,” appearing with her sister, Caroline Manzo (who married Thomas’ brother), her rescued puppy and her cat. Outside of the show, Dina’s loyal fans landed her a show on HGTV, “Dina’s Party,” where she threw parties at her clients’ homes, which ran for two seasons and inspired a book.

Dina announced her breakup on Twitter in early 2013. “My secret…I’ve been separated since October, my heart hurts but Tommy and I will always share a very special love,” she wrote. She returned for one more season of “Real Housewives,” in 2014, when she was on the verge of divorce. “There was this whole dream, I couldn’t wait to have a baby with him,” she confides in the first episode of season 6. “I almost feel alone.”

It’s known exactly when Dina met Dave Cantin, but according to the lawyer’s office, the two had been dating since July 18, 2015, when her new beau was followed to a New Jersey mall by her ex, Thomas, and his friend linked to the mafia. partner, Perna.

Perna, with the help of a member of his crew, used a “slapjack” weapon to attack Dave in the parking lot, authorities said.

A month later, Manzo reportedly rewarded Perna with a lavish wedding ceremony — reportedly at the Brownstone, an upscale catering hall and wedding venue owned by Manzo. The reception included more than 330 guests, including members of the crime family, according to the district attorney’s office.

Manzo was arrested in connection with the 2020 assault and has pleaded not guilty. Perna, the attacker and “created” member of the crime family, according to the indictment, pleaded guilty in December of that year to the assault and was sentenced six months later to 30 months in prison.

Manzo now faces a maximum sentence of more than 40 years in prison, as well as up to $500,000 in fines between the three charges. His sentencing is scheduled for October. 15.

He is also awaiting trial for a second attack on the Cantins, in which he allegedly participated two years after the mall beating.

Manzo was accused of acting as an accomplice in an invasion of Dina and Dave’s Holmdel, New Jersey, home in 2017, shortly before their wedding. When authorities responded to a 911 call, they found the couple, having broken free from restraints, according to NBC New York. They were allegedly attacked with a baseball bat and Dina told investigators that a suspect stole the engagement ring from her finger.

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