The Real Housewives Of New Jersey star Danielle Staub’s closet has more skeletons than a Tim Burton movie set! Additional details are emerging about Danielle Staub’s/Beverly Merrill’s arrest and eventual plea bargain thanks to The Smoking Gun, which has uncovered the archived federal court records which “provide a detailed account of the criminal, drug, prostitution, and informant history of Danielle Staub.” Here’s a relatively brief summary:
Beverly Merrill, who was going by the name Angela Minelli at the time, was delivering a kilo of cocaine to be tested as part of a drug deal set up by Daniel Aguilar, a friend of Angela’s and drug dealer for a Columbian drug family, when she was attacked by four armed men and the kilo of cocaine was stolen. (Keeping up so far?)
Carmen Centolella was the potential buyer and was kidnapped by Angela/Beverly/Danielle and Daniel because they blamed him for the $24,000 worth of stolen cocaine. Federal agents traced ransom calls made to Centonella’s father back to Beverly Merrill (I’ll use that name from here on) and Daniel Aguilar and they were both arrested. Beverly was arrested in her apartment in which agents found close to $16,000 in cash and six kilos of cocaine.
Merrill was charged with eight felonies, including extortion, cocaine possession, and narcotics conspiracy. Prosecutors allege that Merrill placed the first call to Centolella’s father and “threatened injury or death” to his son “unless a sum of money was paid.” Facing the possibility of decades in prison, Merrill quickly opted to flip. In August 1986, she copped to a single felony count and signed a plea agreement pledging to “provide full and complete cooperation” with federal prosecutors and FBI agents.
Aguilar testified that Merrill was a cocaine user and a federal agent testified that Merrill met Aguilar while working for a paid escort service.
In 1986 Beverly Merrill’s extortion conviction resulted in a sentence of five years probation and she was ordered to participate in a drug treatment program.
Two years after Merrill’s sentencing, a substance abuse counselor (who worked in conjunction with Merrill’s probation officer) recommended that, “considering the severity of Beverly’s drug history and her former drug life style,” that her “mandate for drug aftercare be continued.” Court files do not indicate how Judge Eugene Spellman, who sentenced Merrill, ruled on this request. In a recent interview with People magazine, Staub claimed records from her criminal case were “sealed” and that she was only charged as an “accessory.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey kinda sucks when compared to The Real Escorts of Miami! I bet that show has numerous table flips each and every week – mostly for protection from gunfire, but still!
Check out the complete set of documents (26 pages!) here.