Heather Gay, Meredith Marks ‘shocked’ by Jen Shah’s guilty plea

It was shah-king.

Heather Gay and Meredith Marks – like the rest of the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” cast – were blindsided by Jen Shah’s guilty plea.

A source exclusively tells Page Six the Beauty Lab and Laser owner and jewelry designer were informed of their castmate’s legal strategy shift just moments before it was made official.

An insider shares that Shah, 48, called Gay right before heading into the courtroom on Monday and asked her to call Marks, 50, to inform their pal of the new decision.

A second source confirmed the two women received noticed ahead of the pleading.

We’re also told Gay and Marks had been in New York ahead of the pre-trial hearing because Shah “wanted people around her” to support her.

Marks showed her allegiance on social media the night before the hearing, proclaiming that “in the US, one has a right to a trial and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

A screenshot of Meredith Marks' Instagram Story post.
Marks posted this message on her Instagram Story the night before Shah’s pretrial hearing.
Instagram

The reality star was then called out by fans after news of Shah’s plea broke. Her and Gay’s rep declined Page Six’s request for comment on Shah “blindsiding” them.

However, we’re told Marks and Gay are not alone and that other cast members, including Whitney Rose and Lisa Barlow, were “shocked” as well.

“Everyone was surprised,” a source says, adding that Shah “continually” told the other “Housewives” that she was “innocent and that she was going to fight.”

The cast of Season 2 of "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" posing together.
Shah, seen here with her co-stars, has been part of “RHOSLC” since Season 1.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The insider claims the disgraced marketing executive told friends the “reason people plead [guilty] is because they’re afraid and they can’t afford it, but that she can afford it and she was was going to fight for her innocence. ”

The “RHOSLC” cast was under the impression that Shah was in New York just for the pre-trial hearing and to prepare to fight the allegations with her counsel.

The Bravolebrity pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, while the US attorney agreed to drop the other count against her, conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Her attorney, Priya Chaudhry, previously told Page Six that the last-minute plea was made because Shah “wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”

Jen Shah photographed outside of the courtroom.
Shah wore designer threads for federal fraud case’s pre-trial hearing.
Alec Tabak

Our source said Shah felt her back was against the wall when she and her team saw the evidentiary support against her and who was going to be testifying.

“She knew she had to plead guilty because she was going to be guilty anyway and didn’t want to drag her mom, her husband, her kids, and everybody into it,” the insider says.

Shah shares two sons, Sharrieff Jr., 28, and Omar, 19, with husband Sharrieff Shah Sr.

The reality star faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and five years of supervised release. However, the plea agreement calls for only 11 to 14 years behind bars and up to $ 9.5 million in restitution fees. Her sentencing is set for November.

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