Former Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo has faced backlash for asking a judge to release her former brother-in-law Thomas ‘Tommy’ Manzo.
Thomas was charged earlier this month as an alleged accomplice in a gruesome home invasion in 2017, where Caroline’s sister Dina – who was married to Thomas until 2013 – was beaten and tied up.
Dina, 49, and her current entrepreneur husband David Cantin, 41, were both reportedly attacked with bare fists and baseball bats during the altercation when they walked into their New Jersey home.
Former RHONJ star Caroline Manzo faces backlash for asking a judge to release her former brother-in-law Thomas ‘Tommy’ Manzo – accused of being complicit in an attack on her sister Dina (seen here in 2010) in a 2017 home invasion
And now RHONJ fans have voiced alarm at Caroline’s support of Thomas whom she described as “ kindhearted and caring ” in a letter she read during a pre-trial hearing about Friday.
Thomas was released from prison at the hearing pending trial in the home invasion case.
According to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, he faces a handful of allegations, including robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, theft, a gun crime, criminal restraint and stalking.
Caroline has been married for 36 years to Albert Manzo, Thomas’s brother.
After hearing the news of Caroline’s support for Thomas, Dina’s friend and assistant Luke McKibben shared a message hitting the star.
‘Can’t Shut Up’: After hearing the news of Caroline’s support for Thomas, Dina’s friend and assistant Luke McKibben shared a message slamming the star
‘Sister Sold Out’: RHONJ fans have voiced alarm at Caroline’s support of Thomas, who she described as ‘kindhearted and caring’ in a letter read during a pre-trial hearing on Friday
“For years I watched Dina take the main road over and over again. Keep silent for many reasons, but mostly out of respect for family. There are a million things I could have said and spoken over the years to defend her. She would forbid me to say a word.
But I can’t keep quiet while others keep talking to keep their relevance. You will reap what you sow. And I think this is extremely fitting, after all, it’s your most famous words #letmetellyousomethingaboutmyfamily ‘
With his post, Luke shared a side-by-side of Caroline and Thomas with the words ‘Thick as Thieves’.
Dina said below that, “Normally I would ask Lukey to write this down, but you know what? I’m starting to think that some just expect us to keep quiet while they keep hurting others … that’s what gives them that “power.”
Thomas (pictured) faces a handful of allegations, including theft, burglary, aggravated assault, robbery, a gun trespass, criminal restraint and stalking, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. He was seen here with Dinah when they were married. They broke up in 2013
I’ll say it again … it’s not okay to think of kindness as a weakness. And if I don’t smile at this point, I just keep crying. I love you.’
In response, fans knocked out Caroline and took to her Instagram to hit her in the comments below one of her recent posts.
Thomas was not previously charged in the 2017 attack, but was recently named as an accomplice to James Mainello, 53, of Bayonne (pictured), who had previously been charged in the case in 2019.
“You really bent down to the bottom,” one wrote, while another asked, “How can you do that with Dina ???”
‘Blood is thicker than water … at least that’s what you said. Sad you don’t support your sister after that animal did her. another agreed.
A grand jury in Monmouth County indicted Thomas, 56, last week.
Thomas was not previously charged in the 2017 attack, but has now been named as an accomplice to James Mainello, 53, of Bayonne, who was previously charged in the case in 2019.
The suspects would have punched Dinah in the face, while her husband David was beaten with a club.
According to the report, Dinah and David were then allegedly tied up with zippers because the suspects robbed them of her engagement ring as well as cash.
Tommy married Dina in 2007, but the two divorced in 2013 and officially divorced in 2016. During their marriage, he was the stepfather of her daughter from her first marriage, Lexi Ioannou.
The couple’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, told TMZ in a statement, “This was a terrible ordeal for Dina and David and hopefully it is the last step to get them to close this case.”
Tribulation: Dina, 49, and her current entrepreneur husband David Cantin, 41, were both reportedly attacked with bare fists and baseball bats during the altercation (the couple pictured in 2019)
Enough: Dinah’s lawyer said in a statement: ‘This was a terrible ordeal for Dinah and David and hopefully it is the last step to get them to close this case’
Last July, Tommy also pleaded not guilty to hiring a Lucchese gangster soldier to assault Dina’s husband David in a separate incident that took place in 2015.
John Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, pleads guilty to the federal charge of committing a violent crime in aid of extortion activities.
Prosecutors alleged that six years ago, Perna was hired by the reality star’s ex-husband, Thomas, to assault her then-boyfriend and now husband Dave Cantin.
Prosecutors say Perna and a gangster employee attacked Cantin with a slapjack, a club weapon, in the parking lot of a New Jersey strip mall in July 2015.
The incident left Cantin, who married Dina in 2017, a permanent scar on the face.
A month after the attack, Perna held a wedding reception for 330 guests at Thomas Manzo’s Brownstone Restaurant in Paterson, New Jersey, for “a fraction of the price,” authorities said.
Dina (seen here in 2010) starred in seasons one, two and six of Real Housewives of New Jersey and also appeared as a guest on season four