U.S. Attorney’s Office Rejects Teresa’s Attempt to Make a Plea Deal to Avoid Prison; Giudice’s Federal Trial for Money Fraud Postponed Until April 2014 (Updated 3/4/2014)
UPDATE 3/4/2014: On March 4, 2014, Joe and Teresa Giudice pleaded guilty to federal charges of mortgage and bankruptcy fraud. Joe pleaded to five counts, which included a failure to file income taxes (he was accused of skipping out on his tax returns for five years, 2004-2008, with income totaling $996,459); Teresa entered a guilty plea to four counts. Both admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud (connected to the 13 counts of fraudulent mortgage and other loan applications), plus one count each of bankruptcy fraud by concealment of assets, bankruptcy fraud by false oaths, and bankruptcy fraud by false declarations (they were charged with 22 counts of bankruptcy fraud: the couple filed bankruptcy in October 2009, but after several amendments and hearings, they withdrew their petitions two years later, in late 2011, because a federal bankruptcy court trustee filed a lawsuit claiming they both intentionally concealed assets and earnings to avoid paying back creditors). The pair was scheduled to face trial on the federal charges beginning on April 14, 2014. The couple will be sentenced on July 8, 2014. Under federal sentencing guidelines, which are not binding on the judge, Teresa faces 21 to 27 months in federal prison while Joe faces 37 to 46 months and could likely be deported. Said Federal Judge Esther Salas in accepting the pleas, after Italian citizen Joe Giudice finishes his time behind bars, he will face another hearing that will “likely result in … your being removed from the United States.” Click here for more on the story.
UPDATE 11/20/2013: According to NJ.com, the Giudice’s federal trial for money fraud has been postponed until April 2014. After a November 20, 2013 hearing for two additional counts added to the 39-count federal indictment, the lawyers on both sides of the case met privately with the judge for several minutes and emerged to announce that the February 24, 2014 trial date will be pushed back a “short while.” Joe’s attorney Miles Feinstein indicated that the new trial start could be in early April.
UPDATE 9/6/2013: Teresa and Joe Giudice’s federal trial for money fraud has also been postponed until February 24, 2014. The Giudices had been scheduled to stand trial in Newark on October 8, 2013 on charges of conspiring to fraudulently obtain mortgages and other loans, and hiding assets and income from the bankruptcy court. The following is the report from NorthJersey.com:
Prosecutors allege that they used fake pay stubs, tax returns and W-2 forms to secure nearly $5 million in loans between 2001 and 2008 and concealed income from the Bravo cable television show and other business ventures after they filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
Indicted in July, the couple entered not-guilty pleas in August. Lawyers for the government and the defendants later jointly requested a continuance.
In setting a new trial date of Feb. 24, 2014, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas took note in a court order of the large amount of financial and other documentary evidence that defense lawyers must review in order to adequately prepare for trial.
The judge also cited Joe Giudice’s upcoming trial on state charges and said “the failure to grant a continuance would unreasonably deny [him] continuity of counsel and the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation in this case.”
Joe Giudice is facing state criminal charges for allegedly presenting marriage and birth certificates belonging to his brother Pietro to obtain a driver’s license at the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Paterson in 2010. At the time, Joe Giudice’s license was suspended for driving while intoxicated after he flipped his pickup in Montville. The trial in that case is set for Oct. 28.
The 39-count federal indictment charges the couple with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, loan application fraud and bankruptcy fraud.
On August 14, 2013, Joe and Teresa Giudice plead not guilty to financial fraud. In Touch reported on August 15, 2013 that the U.S. Attorney’s office has rejected Teresa’s attempt to make a plea deal to avoid jail time:
“They were originally going to plea down for Teresa, but the U.S. Attorney’s office said no,” says an insider close to the case. Teresa’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, said, “I’m not discussing it. If there ever were a deal, I would never discuss any conversations with the government about any client.”
However, a second source says that a plea deal was definitely discussed by Teresa: “I have never seen any kind of case where that hasn’t happened. And discussion about a plea deal took place here.”
Both Teresa and Joe will face up to 50 years in prison if found guilty, with the possibility of Joe’s deportation.
The Giudice’s trial date is scheduled for October 8 at 9 a.m. to face their recent charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and tax evasion, among others.
CBS 2′s Dick Brennan reported that neither Teresa nor Joe spoke in court, only whispering to each other:
At one point, Teresa wiped sweat from her husband’s brow. The couple also declined to speak to reporters outside the courthouse.
“They were relieved that they could stand up in court through their attorneys and say ‘not guilty,’” said Miles Feinstein, Joe Giudice’s attorney.
Feinstein said there is no truth to a rumor that Joe might plea bargain by testifying against Teresa.
“At least one magazine had an article that Joe, my client, was going to testify against Teresa,” Feinstein said. “That’s absolutely not true.”
After the court hearing Wednesday, instead of laying low, Teresa Giudice went to mingle with her fans at a book signing. She was all smiles as she signed her new cookbook for more than 100 people at a small boutique in Wayne, N.J.
At her cookbook signing at Posche in Wayne, NJ, hours after Joe and Teresa plead not guilty to financial fraud on August 14th, Life & Style chatted with Teresa about Melissa and season 5:
“We’re all good,” the mother of four told Life & Style about their relationship at her cookbook signing at Posche in Wayne, N.J. on Wednesday. “We’re only getting better from here on. Til death do us part.”
“It’s going really well,” said Teresa, who traded in her pantsuit from court for a sexy Boulee Kirsten dress. “As you saw, we’re in a much better place and you’re going to see us taking a trip to Arizona for some Zen.”
She even poked fun at her current situation:
Teresa was seen greeting fans of all ages, including a devoted pair of friends from Roxbury, N.J., wearing “FREE TRE” T-shirts. She even signed the back of the shirt!
While Joe and Teresa were in court to plead not guilty to the federal charges, Gabriella and Milania Giudice were with Melissa to celebrate Antonia’s 8th birthday (photos above and below plus more photos on Melissa’s instagram). Take note of the mixed drinks and wine on the table below and the short-shorts and see-through top that Melissa is wearing at this fine-dining gathering – it looks like the event is centered around the adults more so than the children.
Because Melissa is cheap (per her former friend Jan Marie DeDolce,) and didn’t want to pay for the birthday dinner, she chose a restaurant that would give her free meals in exchange for promoting the establishment on Twitter:
“@empiresteaknyc: We Hope Antonia Had a Happy Birthday! Thanks to @melissagorga for choosing @empiresteaknyc to celebrate!” – Retweeted by Melissa Gorga, August 20, 2013
Just twelve days earlier, on August 2, 2013, Melissa told TheWrap that Teresa was “was guilty by association” for the rumors circulating about her:
The housewife has been the subject of many accusations from allegations that she used to be a stripper, that she married her husband for money and, most recently, that she cheated on him. It’s not hard to find the common denominator in every accusation. They always seem to include Giudice in the mix somehow.
When asked if she felt Giudice was guilty by association, Gorga replied, “Of course. I mean, I think it’s going to blow up but I can’t really say too much about that.”
“I’m sitting on years of things that went on where Teresa was involved,” she elaborated. “I’m not putting it all on her, I’m not saying it’s just her but I’m saying when I was called a stripper Teresa was in the episode. When I was called a cheater, Teresa was sitting there with the same people. When I was made out to be a gold digger and everything else, it came right out of Teresa’s mouth.”
“You’ve never heard me, besides this season, say anything about her marriage, I’m just repeating things that we’ve already seen on camera,” she continued. “I came on the show talking about Sprinkle cookies and that she threw them in the garbage. That’s very different than cheating rumors or stripping rumors.”
On July 26, 2013, Melissa told TheWrap that viewers “keep forgetting what I’ve been through and what has lead up to this:”
“People only remember what they’re seeing right now, they don’t remember what happened before,” the Bravo star said. “They don’t remember the events that lead up to seeing me a little bit hard and a little bit fed up. I think they’re forgetting why, they’re forgetting what I’ve been through and what has lead up to this.”
To be fair, Gorga has been the subject of several rumors at her expense, including the allegation that she once worked as a stripper and most recently that she had cheated on her husband.
“Every season there’s a new rumor about me,” she said. “It’s been open game on me for the whole entire season and it hasn’t stopped and if I saw it stop I wouldn’t be so tough. But, I can see that it just keeps happening and happening so I was done throwing the blanket on it and I really wanted to get to the bottom of it now. I’m sorry if anyone doesn’t like that, but I have to stand by the fact that I don’t want to see my husband hurt anymore and I need to protect him and my family first.”