Danielle Staub: Cocaine, Prostitution Past Detailed in New Court Papers

On Tuesday, The Smoking Gun website published 26 pages of federal court documents that detail Real Housewives on New Jersey star Danielle Staub's crime-ridden past.

The papers show the 46-year-old Staub – then known as Beverly Ann Merrill (she also had an alias: Angela Minelli) – "was arrested by FBI agents in June 1986 for her role in a kidnapping plot that grew out of a cocaine deal gone bad," along with Daniel Aguilar, whom she met while working for an escort service.

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The papers reveal that she and Aguilar "sought to extort a $25,000 ransom from a man whose son they were holding."

The son – whom they "threatened injury or death" – "was blamed by Merrill and Aguilar for the botched drug deal, which cost them a kilo of cocaine worth about $24,000," according to the papers.

When they were arrested, "agents discovered six kilos of cocaine and about $16,000 in cash," according to the papers. Staub "was charged with eight felonies, including extortion, cocaine possession and narcotics conspiracy."

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Along with Aguilar, she later became an informant and pleaded guilty to "a single felony count."

She was sentenced to five years' probation (Aguilar got 15 years behind bars) and was ordered into a drug treatment program.

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Still, Staub – whose past was also detailed in the 1995 out-of-print book Cop Without a Badge – tells Us Weekly that only the facts that she was arrested and changed her name are true.

"Yup, I had a name change. Yup, I was a different person," she tells Us.

"Yup, I'm a great mom." "Don't judge me. There's only one person that can judge anybody," she went on. "In spirit and in life, we are all equal. There is only one higher power."

For more on the Housewives' juicy tell-all interviews with the new Us Weekly, why Jacqueline no longer speaks to Danielle, what really happened when the cameras were off, and how the cover shoot for Us Weekly almost didn't happen because of Staub, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly today!

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