My Brand is CRISIS…

TODAY -- Pictured: Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Crisis seems to be the word of the moment. Between the huge Number of people using this term to NOW describe their businesses and the new movie Called OUR Brand is Crisis, Seems to be a crisis manager is an “it thing?!”

I am a person who as a legal coach and Fixer wears many hats. A legal coach really is a life coach, which better describes that side of my business and brand. But ALL of my clients have or will be in crisis- hence the proper term for me -CRISIS MANAGER.

I recall when I began prison consulting there was one other guy kind of doing this and all of a sudden I received some press and the world was full of Prison consultants.!  A great concept but a nearly impossible way to earn a living without also providing help with many other things the client needs. From rehab to management, my clients need it all and are waiting for that one person who understands the hole they have dug for themselves and is looking for a way OUT.

They need a person who understands them and crisis. After all, change, which is really what we all need in some way, is hard to effect without many things falling into place. My work is all about change yet true change, real change means first you know that you need to change and that you want to. th

After all, there is usually a catastrophic event that leads to a person realizing they need to change. And I mean change in many if not every way. That may mean making a client relatable and humanizing them, as well as changing the people around them. All of it helps dig out of the crisis and leads to the goal of a happier, more successful life.

So yes, my brand is crises but that means so many things. Yet all with one goal- making one learn humility while loosing the entitlement and grandiosity that probably led them to the crisis they now are stuck in. Grandiose people are impossible to relate to, yet they think they are just like everybody else but often with more money. I assure you, money has noting to do with making a client likeable or humanizing them. It is more likely an ego check that needs to happen and fast.

You see a crisis does not last long nor does fame. A crisis becomes a new way of living just as fame become infamy.Neither is good and both are fixable. So, while my brand is crisis whether it is how the fans perceive a client after a divorce or a prison stint, it can be done. They main thing we all have in common- a need to never forget that everything is relative and humility is a MUST. Forget that and your will be calling me.As a crisis manager my goal is to protect you, not promote you like a publicist. I want you to distrust everybody and then take your power and influence back all while remaining human and kind and the best you can be. A tall task but doable.Just remember. There is a fine line between love and hate, and a fine line between perfection and overdoing it. Keep yourself protected and relatable and you will be surprised how different your work life and image will beCan I make anybody likeable???? I would say almost- Take out the obvious, serial killers and child molesters and the answer is YES. But they need to do the hard work to sustain the likability and make the changes stick. But I can humanize anybody or at least make them more relatable and understandable even if we do not want to relate to them for whatever reason. Just remember- change is possible with HARD work!

 

 

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows such as Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post,Page Six, Los Angeles Times, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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The Art of the Apology

DONUTGATE AND ARIANA GRANDE…

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Another day, another scandal. First of all, don’t forget that a crisis is different than a scandal. A crisis can be fixed often without anybody knowing much, while a scandal lingers and needs full-blown image control, damage control and a solid moving forward plan at the very least.

This week we have singer Ariana Grande and ‘DONUTGATE’!

And we also have our old “Racist Paula Dean back for more. Add these to the ongoing Bill Cosby issues and of course Brian Williams and others and you see what I mean- Where are the SINCERE APOLOGIES???

And that will of course bring us back to none other than Reality Infamy hall of famer Teresa Giudice. Yes, I worked with Giudice for over a year night and day, and we see now none of the apologies I helped her compose meant anything. Except they did earn her a very light sentence and her Juicy Husband a staggered surrender which is rarely done. Nice job if I do say so myself. Yet- really not as that time and energy could have been used to help somebody who really wanted to show humility and change.

Let’s start with last week and Ariana Grande. Oh even her name is grandiose isn’t it!? What looks to be silly and a childish prank, turns into a major ordeal now being investigated by the cops and other agencies. That is actually fair, as turnabout is fair play, and if the donut shop owner was not trying to exploit Grande, no one of would know about this. Yet he did sell the tape and now guess what? The owner is in trouble for health code violations- Poetic Justice to be sure!!!

But for Ariana Grande this has now turned serious. SO she licked some donuts. Yes, that may be disgusting and arrogant, but it is her anti American comments and FAT SHAMING that has people upset. And then of course her “APOLOGY’- a total dismal disaster from somebody old enough to care, but young enough to do this. She definitely needs some crisis management help before this turns into a scandal. Ms. Grande needs to apologize on a platform her fans relate to and do it with sincerity and humility and she needs to do this NOW.

As for the lovely Paula Dean– this now crosses her over into Infamy I am afraid. After all, she was in trouble for saying and then DENYING she said the N Word. Now old photos are tweeted of her son in Brown Face! Yes, these were tweeted by her social media person, but Ms. Dean- the buck always stops at the top at that would be YOU. Had YOU apologized with any sincerity the first time, this would not be so difficult. But you did not. You read a script aka teleprompter on The Today show of course, and it had no depth. No feeling, no honesty. I am sure she is sorry, but sorry she was busted. I did not feel her sorry in her soul for saying things that many of us have said. The apology was worse than the action. The lie is worse than the event. Just like always.

Brian Williams also recently apologized on the Today show- that apology fell flat also- WHY???? Because there again was no depth and no real emotion. It was forced, and I am sure it really was in many ways. An apology needs to be real, and emotive and is very telling. We have not really heard an apology from Cosby and at this point there is NO point for him to do so. It should not matter and it would not be real. Plus, he may harm himself in a way that is not obvious yet. So, Cosby gets a pass. Not because he does not owe one, but because he has no vehicle in which to do so, so many issues have harmed so many and he is OLD. But, I would ask- Bill, have you apologized to victim number ONE- your wife???? That he should do and the remaining children for ruining their legacy and dragging them all through the slop. That would also make him more appealing even just slightly, and if he were my client I would try to get him to do just this. I will not hold my breath!

I help people with the ART OF THE APOLOGY everyday. Sometimes it is before a judge and sometimes it is to build a bridge with a family member. An apology is not something you tweet or put on social media. It must be something you feel deep inside. Sometimes I get clients to feel the apology by thinking of how their circumstance has harmed their loved ones. Then I ask- do you wish to be forgiven- the answer is always YES- MY question then becomes HAVE YOU FORGIVEN YOURSELF?

That is where I get interesting responses and can start working on what I call THE ART OF THE APOLOGY- this is a process and one we need not forget or brush off. It is indicative of how you live your life and what you expect from yourself and others. SO many people expect others to behave one way and yet hey behave another. What is so hard about an apology? Well many things- first it makes one admit they are not above others, and also an apology makes one accountable. Things that are very difficult for many and more so for celebrities who surround themselves with enablers.

But it is simple- we are a very forgiving society, but we do need meaningful apologies and then move on. That simple, say it, mean it, do it and MOVE ON…

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande

 

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows such as Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, People, New York Post,Page Six, Los Angeles Times, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

 

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July 13, 2015 · 1:53 PM

Is America really the land of the FREE???

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America has never been more of a land of contrasts. The U.S Supreme court last week cleared the way for ALL people to have equal rights when it comes to marriage. A total victory for the LGBTQ community and all of us when it comes to civil rights.- Land of the FREE right?

Yet as we approach the July 4 holiday or Independence day- please do not forget that as far as the free world, America has the largest rate of INCARCERATION in the world. We also have a terribly out of control criminal justice system and of course let us NOT forget the big money involved in locking up Americans- especially women.

Have you ever heard of the prison Industrial Complex????

Money, money, money… yet we have very few programs for those who are incarcerated and re entering society and drug offenders are often denied aid for their children and other benefits. Plus who can forget the BOX that most employers make applicants check when applying for jobs about past criminal convictions. Thus, making it almost impossible to earn a living and really change lives.

SO is America land of the FREE and what can be done??? I am as a legal coach and crisis manager a solution oriented person. I also am one of the lucky people who can use past experiences to shine a light on a broken and busted system.

But, there is hope and the more Insiders like me speak out, the more we have a chance to bring about much needed change. I am often criticized for working with celebrities, yet how else to get out the message? After all- it is the message not the method that matters. If prison teaches you anything- for my clients and me it is to cherish your Freedom and to stand up and speak out.

SO back to the high levels of Incarceration in the U.S.- While looking at this do not forget that the numbers are as follows- 95% of those incarcerated are being released and most in less than 5 years. This is a HUGE problem. Sure we have Orange is the New Black and real prison TV shows like Lock UP, but whenever I am offered a TV show I ask- can we also talk about life after and the answer is NO- that is why I have yet to commit to a series- we must address all aspects of our system. Re-Entry and the struggle even I have.

Drug crimes with mandatory 10-year minimums are simply costing millions and solving nothing. The organization FAMM does much to help this cause but we need to understand at the root of Freedom is MONEY- just as with wars. For example, this is currently on Wikipedia-

“The term “prison–industrial complex” (PIC) is used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. [1] The term is derived from the “military–industrial complex” of the 1950s”

Prisons are job creators. But going deeper and after all we are talking about the Land of the Free and celebrating July 4- we still can not decide if prison is punitive or about rehabilitation. It simply must be both in most cases. This is why I ask all of MY clients, no matter what, to do community service and have written and spoken much about this.

It is time we look at crimes and determine based on that what will work to change the system- the war on drugs is an epic flop and unless we are talking kingpin regarding long prison sentences in drug cases, we must look at programs- much cheaper and they work. Spend more on probation officers and less on prisons and we may have something…

This is not to say that violent and terrible crimes do not stand alone- they MUST and then we can handle others. Oh, and while we are at reform and education here- let us ban the box and eliminate the statute of limitations on crimes against CHILDREN- simply unacceptable

For now- celebrate your choice to be FREE and America does have the best justice system, but before it is not repairable stop and think about this week of Freedom and what it all really means.

Have a Happy, safe and FREE July 4 and for those who are not free- change is possible with hard work. Freedom has many forms…

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows such as Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, People, New York Post,Page Six, Los Angeles Times, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, crisis manager, FAMM, july 4, orange is the new black, prison coaching, prison industrial complex, Wendy Feldman

What’s prison like on Mother’s Day???

Notes From An Insider

Prison on mother’s day- the busiest place on earth. Certainly not the happiest, but the busiest. Mother’s day is the number one day for visitors in a women’s prison. You see it all. From kids who have not seen their mom’s in a year or more, to every baby daddy on earth trying to do the right thing even if just for a moment.

Mother’s day is also the hardest day if you are in prison and a mom. For many it is the only day of the year they allow themselves to be sad or even remorseful. People in prison all use different coping strategies to deal with the loss, anger and isolation of  their choices. When I was in a Federal Prison camp for mother’s day, it seemed like the only day when everyone got along with each other, or at least tried. In fact, I saw…

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The Busiest Place in the World- Mother’s Day In PRISON!!!!!

Prison on Mother’s Day- the busiest place on earth. Certainly not the happiest, but the busiest. Mother’s day is the number one day for visitors in a women’s prison. You see it all. From kids who have not seen their mom in a year or more, to every baby daddy on earth trying to do the right thing even if just for a moment. In Prison every moment of doing time counts…

Mother’s day is also the hardest day if you are in prison and a mom. For many it is the only day of the year they allow themselves to be sad or even remorseful. People in prison all use different coping strategies to deal with the loss, anger and isolation of  their choices. When I was in a Federal Prison camp for mother’s day, it seemed like the only day when everyone got along with each other, or at least tried. In fact, I saw more compassion and empathy in prison on mother’s day than I do on the outside sometimes. It is the ultimate reality check when you find yourself in prison on mother’s day.

I was lucky enough to have my family and my children visit me often. But, for those who don’t, here are some resources. Prisoners with Children is a wonderful organization and has programs to help families. The Girl Scouts also has a program to help children visit their parents as does Get On The Bus. As hard as it may seem to understand, it is only through programs like these that we can stop the cycle and begin the healing.

As I say often, families are the forgotten consequences of crime. We can’t ignore that the best way for a successful re-entry back to society  is through the quality of family relationships. The trend is for prisons to encourage visits and family contact. I not only agree but do whatever I can to raise awareness to this issue. The stigma of an incarcerated parent is a heavy one, yet with the proper tools and understanding, this burden can be dealt with.

Support these and other programs and remember that change is possible with hard work. Also, as I say to every mother and father and client do not let poor choices define you,learn from them and change your life. The worst crime of all is to not teach your children to learn from your mistakes…

To everyone, Happy Mother’s Day and may you find peace and freedom in the future.

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, People, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, The New Jersey Register, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under crisis manager, Mother's day, prison, teresa Guidice, Wendy Feldman

The week of liars…Lance Armstrong and Brian Williams!!! YOU HAD TO BIG SHOTS…

Seems to be the American way- deny, deny, deny. In a week that has seen the scandals of two HUGE names- Lance Armstrong and TV Newsman Brian Williams- one has to wonder what makes people who seem to have it all- LIE.

But what I wonder is why is this a surprise? More interesting to be me as somebody who is a legal coach and crisis manager– why is this all so shocking???

The fact is that most people lie about something, sometime in their life. SO why are these two bringing out such outrage? To me the answer is simple. Something I work with everyday with people from all walks of life. It boils down to two things. The cover up and the MOTIVE.

Really most people do not set out to commit crimes, lie or deceive. This might sound strange, as many people I work with, including myself, have committed white-collar crimes. Shockingly even these are not really about greed usually, but about grandiosity, power orientation and often a small lie that builds. As they say- the cover up is worse than the crime.

Same is true with Lance Armstrong and Brian Williams. Yet I think the motives are very different. But the outcomes will be the same- FAMOUS becoming INFAMOUS. The question is will either see forgiveness and redemption?

I say with Brian Williams if he and NBC get a grip on the scandal fast the answer is YES. And with Lance Armstrong NO CHANCE- the nine lives are over with the lie about his stop for DUI and asking his girlfriend to well- LIE and say she was driving. That is the mark of a true Sociopath. But that is nothing new for Armstrong who seems to be addicted to lies, Scandals and bringing others down. Amazingly he has escaped prosecution up to NOW- unlike Barry Bonds who was convicted in the BALCO steroid scandal in major league Baseball.

In fact, Lance Armstrong is one of those who fits the word INCARCERVENTION– he is in need of one as the years of illegal activity, betrayal and lies are finally catching up with him. As anybody who has watched the documentary about Armstrong knows, he is one cocky and selfish dude. He even seems to have manipulated his work for cancer research to justify his illegal and immoral behavior.

For Brian Williams the lies about being shot down while covering wars, Katrina and more have escalated to a remarkable level. Why did he lie in the first place? Probably good stories that he never expected to repeat and once he did since it was a lie, the story changed! SURPRISE!!!! That is what happens with lies. For Williams the real issue is his apology. I must say the apology was a glimpse into the world I work in. A person with such an ego, so out of touch and so manipulative that he felt saying he had made “mistakes” was enough. AND Williams did this while on his TV throne during the nightly news. Hardly the place to apologize and lie

Why not go on the tonight show or Today and explain, say WOW I am sorry and move on? Again simple. Williams does not get it. He needs a humility check and fast. NBC is now in a tight spot. This is a crisis manager’s dream. But did NBC learn from Sony? Looks like it with the leave of absence Williams is now on.

Celebrities and Networks need to understand that social media and the audience is now part of the process. Information is readily available and people want and deserve answers. Just look at how Brian Williams is #TRENDING. So is Armstrong. This is 2015- WE are all running the studios and networks.

Like all the work I do, I try to look for the lesson and take away in order to help build awareness, educate and help people. Here it really is a lesson in humility and walking the walk. Do that and people will forgive you, move on and even let you DWTS!

NBC seems to understand this and I believe Brian Williams will as well. As for Lance Armstrong- he needs to do a lot of work and THERAPY- I would not bet on that and his days as a hero and more are over. Now he should focus on his children and try to save some part of his legacy. But that would mean putting others first- nah- doubt that will happen.

The moral of the story or this blog is look at Martha Stewart and others who have lived through scandals and even myself. Stand up, speak out and never forget you are lucky to have a second chance.

Wendy Feldman is a  family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment show The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post, The Wrap and various radio shows around the world. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under Barry Bonds, Brian williams, crisis management, forgiveness, incarcervention, Lance Armstrong

CRISIS MANAGEMENT 101…

 

 

Many people ask me “what do you really do?” Well, that is a complex question that will more easily explained in my upcoming book. But suffice it to say that I have two main areas of expertise and by nature they overlap.

That is crisis management and alternative sentencing. I have written and spoken a lot over the years about alternative sentencing, the flaws in our criminal justice system and how to make re-entry a top priority.

This BLOG I am going to dedicate to crisis management. I am often called the “Real Olivia Pope.” In fact, there is a real Olivia Pope named Judy Smith. As expected she runs a crisis management firm and is very politically connected. What we do as far as business models is not even close. She is more corporate and I, mainly because of my inside experience and my alternative sentencing passion, am hands on and all in one on one. For many, especially those who need no legal help, she and her approach make perfect sense. I am more of a legal life coach. Believe me there are many others and room for more. Depends on the client, the issue and the relationship

On Secret Societies of Hollywood– a show I am a part of on E! the narrator said “lawyers get clients off the hook, but one woman. Wendy Feldman keeps them off the hook” This is often true but takes great work and lots of planning.

Crisis management means teaching clients to be risk prepared in their everyday lives- from shredding all mail, to always having people sign a NDA unless another agreement is reached that takes the place of that

. Some Crisis Management Rules I Have:

 

NEVER ALLOW GUEST’S CELL PHONES IN YOUR HOME – HAVE PEOPLE CHECK THEM WITH SECURITY

DO NOT GO TO A DR’S APPOINTMENT WITHOUT ALL STAFF SIGNING YOUR OWN NDA- BRING IT WITH YOU

DO NOT GO TO THE DR AND ALLOW THE DR TO HAVE A CELL OR CAMERA AROUND WHERE YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE PHOTOS

DO NOT ALLOW REALTORS TO BRING CLIENTS TO YOUR HOME WITH CELL PHONES UNTIL AN OFFER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AND THEN GET PHOTO APPROVAL

WIPE ALL EMAILS OFF YOUR SERVER AND TO A HARD DRIVE EVERY TWO WEEKS (SONY HACK)

UNDERSTAND THAT TEXT MESSAGES CAN BE COPIED AND ALTERED AND FORWARDED- DO NOT SEND THEM UNLESS YOU WANT CERTAIN INFORMATION OUT-

ALWAYS BEGIN A CALL WITH MEDIA THAT ASKS, “ARE YOU TAPING THIS CALL”

ALWAYS BEGIN A BUSINESS CALL WITH “ ARE YOU TAPING THIS CALL” IF SO WHY AND DO NOT AGREE TO COMPLETE THE CALL IF UNCOMFORTABLE OR TAPING

 

These are just a few things I teach my clients as their crisis manager. Other things include advice on moving violations, NEVER BLOW- take a blood test– blood tests labs are over full- and advice on how to do deal with their image, image once there has been a crisis and of course their COMEBACK. THAT ONE IS EASY IS YOU ARE AUTHENTIC AND DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE.

As a crisis manager I also set up and over see media events and often help script what a client will say. I say help because it must be a collaboration. There has been much speculation about Teresa Giudice and the speech she gave in court. That I will NOT address here. But the raw footage of me helping several clients exists. To that I say props to those clients. We do not shame people for having a voice coach or a work out trainer. Coaching people through difficult times is important and to seek help smart.

Would I have suggested Bill Cosby do a sit down like child molester Stephen Collins? HELL NO- NEVER-

The reason is why should he? There is no way to win that. No way to answer, so separate the work from the man and Cosby is giving fans the choice- It is America- make that choice and he will live with the consequences and does. This does not mean I believe him or many people I work with, but don’t forget. Clients are adults and not my friends. They make choices; I help them along the way. BUT I do not judge them nor do I ever ask if they did it. That is the benefit of my job. I know in a heartbeat- no need to ever ask.

The tips above are really just sneak peaks into one side of what I do and how I work as a crisis manager. Of course I did not talk much about media and other issues. This is just a peak. Much more will be in my book and in future appearances and blogs. For now never forget that change is possible, but it takes hard work!

 

 

Wendy Feldman is a  family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment show The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post, The Wrap and various radio shows around the world. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Olivia Pope, prison preparation, scandal, Teresa Giudice