Faced with an impending 12-month prison sentence, former reality TV star Shannade Clermont is opening up about the fateful night that would eventually land her behind bars.
Clermont, 25, made a name for herself alongside her twin sister Shannon when the two appeared on season 14 of Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club.” They’ve since built careers as models and social media influencers, but for Shannade, at least, those dreams will have to be put on hold while she spends a year in prison.
Clermont pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud last year after prosecutors accused her of stealing a dead man’s identity and making fraudulent purchases worth thousands of dollars. Prosecutors say that Clermont met James Alesi for a “prostitution date” at his Manhattan apartment in early 2017; he was found dead the following day of an apparent overdose, and authorities say that Clermont, who stole his debit card information after he passed out, went on to spend more than $20,000 of his money.
However, in an interview with the New York Post's Page Six on Saturday, Clermont opened up about her relationship with Alesi, whom she called a “sugar daddy” who was “just someone who took care of [her]” and not “an innocent person.” She also described the night he died.
“He wasn’t asleep when I left — he was just drunk,” she said. “I have never been around people who have been on heavy drugs, so I didn’t really know.”
“It was like, ‘Oh, he was a drunk mess.’ I was annoyed . . . [I thought] he was playing games. So I just left,” she continued.
The outlet reports that Clermont did admit to taking Alesi’s card and using his money to cover her rent, airline travel, and a multitude of luxury items.
Her alleged shopping spree seemed to be a point of contention with the judge who tried her earlier this year; U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald criticized Clermont at a hearing in April for leaving the apartment without calling 911, the Associated Press reports.
“When faced with a real test of character, you chose to steal his debit card information,” she said.
But Clermont told The Post that she did not find out until later that Alesi had died, though she did not specify to the outlet how much later.
“From the outside looking in, it looks like I knew he was dead and was like ‘haha’ . . . and that’s really sick,” she said.
Clermont is scheduled to begin serving her prison sentence on June 4, the Post reports. She and her sister plan to continue to work on launching their fashion empire once Shannade’s sentence is over, but during her incarceration, Shannade plans to be productive by writing her memoir and studying law, the outlet reports.
“I think I want to actually learn some law, because I feel like I was misinformed about this whole process,” Clermont said.
The twins told the outlet that they were initially “blindsided” when Shannade was sentenced. Her lawyer originally told them that she would not get any time, they said, and they felt that her presentencing interview, during which she talked about suicidal ideation and their efforts to raise awareness regarding mental health struggles, had gone well enough to help her avoid time behind bars.
But the twins said that their Instagram activity during the trial was not looked at favorably by the judge.
“I don’t know what they expect us to post — like, us crying or looking sad?” Shannade said. “We don’t post our daily struggles or how I feel every day.”
The judge “had her mind made up,” Shannon claimed, and allegedly said that Shannade needed to be used “as an example” to their 1.3 million Instagram followers.
Shannade, however, seems generally positive about the future, telling the Post, “I feel like this may have happened for a reason.”
“God already has his plan, and I’m just going to the path and living it,” she continued. “Look at T.I. and Gucci Mane. Many people have been incarcerated and they come out stronger. Look at Martha Stewart.”
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