NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The ex-husband of a “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member and a reputed mobster have pleaded not guilty to charges that they conspired to assault the woman’s current husband.
Thomas Manzo, 55, of Franklin Lakes, and John Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove, entered their pleas Wednesday during an arraignment hearing conducted via videoconferencing. Federal prosecutors say Manzo hired Perna to commit the attack in exchange for a lavish wedding reception at a restaurant where Manzo is an owner.
Both men are charged with conspiracy and committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity. Manzo is the ex-husband of Dina Manzo, while Perna was identified as a soldier in the Lucchese crime family, according to prosecutors.
Perna was also charged with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud related to the submission of a false car insurance claim, while Thomas Manzo was charged with falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the violent crime.
Thomas Manzo hired Perna in the spring of 2015 to assault his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend in exchange for a deeply-discounted wedding reception at a Paterson restaurant where Thomas Manzo is an owner, prosecutors said. The alleged assault occurred in July 2015.
The following month, Perna held a “lavish” wedding reception at the restaurant for a fraction of the price, prosecutors said. More than 330 people attended, including many members of the Lucchese Crime Family, authorities said.