The Giudices Should Work Out a Plea Deal Because the Evidence Points to Their Guilt (Updated 3/12/2014)
UPDATE MARCH 12, 2014: According to the March 17, 2014 print issue of US Weekly, Joe and Teresa Giudice “decided that accepting a plea deal was in the best interest of the entire family.” The following is a report on the story from Celebrity Dirty Laundry:
Supposedly they didn’t want their four daughters to be hurt by the damage and crazy press coverage that a trial would have brought. HA!
This might be the first time in years that Teresa wanted her kids to avoid media coverage. Usually she seems to be shoving them in front of the cameras; and I’m not buying that they suddenly want to protect the kids for one minute. If that was truly the case then they wouldn’t have decided to tell them that they both could be going to jail while Bravo’s camera’s rolled!
“I want to make sure everybody knows that there were NO cameras rolling yesterday on private matters with my daughters.” – Teresa Giudice, March 5, 2014, Twitter
I think Teresa just is hoping that she can use her kids to kind of lessen the hostility that people may feel for her in general.
If you watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey then you have seen Teresa repeatedly turn herself into a victim. It’ll be hard for her to do that in this situation unless she decides to completely roll on her husband.
The Giudices should have seriously considered a plea deal, especially when taking into account the last time Joe testified in his own defense. In an opinion letter about Juicy’s testimony in December 2010 during a civil case filed against him by his former business partner, Joe Mastropole, U.S. bankruptcy judge Morris Stern wrote:
J. Giudice was not being truthful when he averred that Mastropole had authorized the signing of his name on Exhibit P-6.29. The signing of Mastropole’s name was a forgery, made with business motives (i.e., to garner funds through refinancing transactions), exhibiting willfulness and malice toward a former friend and current adversary. The extraordinary web of lies and misrepresentations woven by Giudice to implement and cover his misconduct reflects on his approach to business matters, and suggests his disregard for legal restraints which would bind others… Even if these arguments were to have some merit if a truth-telling, law-respecting party were defending, that is not the present case. Giudice is that party defendant who brazenly “notarized” (by forgery) his own forgery of his business associate’s signature, and otherwise fabricated stories (e.g., the Testa “witnessing” that was not), all with reckless abandon. It is not difficult to see Giudice rationalizing that payment of $300,000 was “enough” for Mastropole, and if Mastropole were eventually to discover the forgery, Giudice would come up with something (such as the oral authorization ploy) when pressed. The worst fate that would befall him would be that he be made to pay what he owed through the settlement agreement.
In season 4 episode 14, Teresa and Joe taped a scene with their bankruptcy attorney, James Kridel, regarding the fraud case filed against them by Joe’s former business partner, Joe Mastropole. During an interview segment (TH), Teresa addressed the fact that Joe had forged his former business partner’s name on mortgage documents. Believing Joe’s admission to forgery was the reason for the judgment in favor of Mastropole (Joe Giudice was ordered to pay $260,000 still owed as part of their business divorce agreement), Teresa said: “See! You gotta lie!” (click here for the clip). Apparently, Teresa lied when she testified in the case, which cleared her of any responsibility for paying off Mastropole even though she also signed the business divorce agreement.
The following is a synopsis of Mastropole v. Giudice (bankruptcy judge, Judge Morris Stern, concluded that the money owed to Mastropole should be excepted from the Guidice’s bankruptcy discharge).
Teresa also was named in the fraud case filed by Joe Mastropole and was called to testify because she had signed the business divorce agreement which obligated the Giudices to pay Mastropole a total of $586,000 — $300,000 immediately with an ultimate payoff by December 1, 2007. The Giudices breached the agreement by failing to pay off the balance owed of $286,000; instead, they included it in their bankruptcy petition filed on October 29, 2009 as debt to be discharged. Mastropole filed a lawsuit to prevent the debt from being discharged.
During testimony at the proceeding in Mastropole v. Giudice on November 19, December 14 and December 15, 2010, Teresa was not implicated in any of the actual business affairs between Mastropole and J. Giudice, other than she had been a titleholder to certain property and had signed the business divorce agreement.
Attorney John Testa took the witness stand and said he represented the Giudices in the business divorce litigation with Mastropole, which was to have culminated with the June 13, 2007 settlement agreement. Testa identified the personal guarantee in the settlement agreement appeared to have been signed by Teresa and Joe Giudice and witnessed by himself. As to his witnessing the Giudices’ signatures, Testa said that J. Giudice signed in his presence, but Teresa’s signature was already on the guarantee when her husband brought it to him. Testa said he “would not accept that that way,” and said he telephoned Teresa to question her about the document. Testa said he went through it with her “and made sure that was, in fact, her signature.”
Teresa confirmed that she did not work in her husband’s real estate business or with Mastropole-J. Giudice business ventures. “I was not involved in their business,” as she put it. She said she recently she became aware that her name was “on” certain real estate. She testified that she never met Testa and that she did not recall the guarantee nor any telephone conversation with Testa about the guarantee. Wrote Judge Morris Stern: “Teresa was vague throughout most of her testimony, and particularly so in this regard. The singular area of Teresa’s testimony which was firm and emphatic was as to her purported signature on the personal guarantee. She said she did not sign the document.”
On cross-examination regarding Teresa’s signature on the guarantee, J. Giudice said: “I might have signed that . . . I don’t know.” He also said he did not know if Testa had called Teresa about the guarantee. J. Giudice also confirmed that he didn’t tell Testa about the Mastropole discharge of mortgage.
When the plaintiff’s case ended and the defense moved for dismissal, the court denied the motion as to J. Giudice; however, the court dismissed the case against Teresa in its entirely based upon the total absence of evidence connecting her (other than as a spouse) to her husband’s real estate business affairs, not because they believed her testimony.
During the reunion special for season 5, Teresa said she reached out to Caroline Manzo when she and Juicy were indicted on money fraud because she knew the Manzo’s good friend, Bernie Kerik, had recently served time in federal prison after pleading guilty of some similar charges. Teresa said: “I always liked Bernie.”
Kerik is Al’s best friend according to Caroline (in the final episode of season 1). Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, was released from federal prison in May 2013 after serving three and a half years of a four year-sentence.
Kerik initially planned to fight the charges in October 2009, but eventually pleaded guilty in November 2009 to eight felony charges, including tax fraud, accepting kickbacks, lying to the White House on documents vetting his fitness to serve in the Cabinet, and lying on loan applications.
Kerik was a close ally of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom he served as a bodyguard and driver. Giuliani then tapped him for a senior position in the Correction Department, and he went on to become the agency’s commissioner.
Kerik’s performance after the 9/11 attacks turned him into a national figure, and President George W. Bush nominated him to lead the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. That bid quickly collapsed in scandal, marking the beginning of the end of Kerik’s career.
Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison in February 2010 after a federal judge blasted him for using his high-profile part in the city’s 9/11 response to make money.
In a November 2009 deal he made with federal prosecutors, Kerik’s pleaded guilty to lying to the White House, filing false tax returns, and lying about $255,000 in work done by a mob-linked contractor. A humiliated Kerik wept on the witness stand while testifying against the two brothers accused of covering up the free remodeling of the ex-commissioner’s Riverdale apartment – Kerik sought to help a city contractor in exchange for extensive renovations to his apartment.
Al Manzo, a Kerik pal and owner of The Brownstone restaurant in Paterson, said the former cop’s wife, other family members and close friends were gathering for a robust “Welcome Home” meal.
“Bernie’s looking for some of the good food he hasn’t been able to get for the last three years,” Manzo told the Daily News. “I’m his friend — I’m there for him.
“He loves fresh mozzarella, shrimp scampi, beef short ribs.”
“He did his time like a man,” said Manzo, adding that the once-beefy Kerik’s weight was down to 175 pounds. “I think he deserves a chance to get his life back on track.”
The ex-top cop surrendered on May 17, 2010, but earned time off for good behavior that cleared him to leave the Cumberland, Maryland, facility and actually begin home confinement on May 23, prison officials said.
Prior to his incarceration, Kerik ran a private security consulting business and trained security dogs.
Based on the photo of his home below (more photos here), it looks like Kerik’s family was able to maintain their lifestyle despite his imprisonment (prior to his arrest, Kerik also was able to afford a separate apartment in New York).
In December 2008, Al Manzo hosted a fund-raiser at The Brownstone to raise money for Kerik’s legal defense – he was scheduled to face trial in October 2009 but instead pleaded guilty in November 2009. Looks like Kerik has done pretty well for himself. Perhaps he should have downsized before asking others for money to help him fight charges of bank fraud, accepting kickbacks, tax evasion and perjury.
In August 2013, a month after she and Joe were indicted for money fraud, Teresa considered taking the same route as Bernie Kerik by scheduling a fundraiser at the Maliblue Oyster Bar to “collect donations to support her legal defense,” but when she was called out on it by bloggers, she claimed the press release was a PR stunt to drum up business for the restaurant.
FW reader gessiewtf posted a comment for Joe Giudice, imploring him to work out a plea deal and spare himself and his family a long, drawn-out legal process. The following is her post.
September 29, 2013
I think that this is what should happen. Joe’s lawyers should have the charges, which are deliberate overkill to let them know that they have no compunction about putting Teresa in jail, dropped against his wife in exchange for pleading guilty to the things that he is guilty of – failing to file tax returns and most certainly a few of the other counts.
The government will fight back, but I don’t think they have a perfect case. They want him to go down for some of the stuff. He should do whatever it takes to keep his wife out of jail.
Her own attorney should be advising her about her own life and how to keep it with her kids. Time to think about yourself, Teresa, and how to stay out of jail for those girls.
Juicy should plead it down to five years with all charges against his wife dropped. Enough with the tough guy attitude. I know he thinks he is innocent, but he has committed some crimes which are obvious.
Hell, my father was charged with arson (he burnt down a house he couldn’t sell). He had his vintage Bentley stolen from his club and burnt down for the insurance money. That was how he came to the attention of the feds [the Giudices filing bankruptcy brought them to the attention of the feds]. Who would steal a classic car and just burn it? it didn’t make sense. He didn’t file taxes for six years. He was accused of buying and selling stolen property. Bank fraud, loan fraud, mail and wire fraud.
In the end, after blowing every dime he had and proclaiming his innocence, and after a five-year trial, he did six months in a federal prison. Our family was destroyed, everything we owned was seized, he could never get a job or have a credit card for the rest of his life, and all of his kids were fucked up in one way or another. Self-esteem of children shot to hell. Mother dies young of stress.
Just plead guilty after the lawyers have fought back and forth for your lightest sentence and leave your wife out of it. If my father had involved my mother, I would have shot him myself. Throw yourself on your sword, Juicy. I love you to death, but you are guilty of not filing tax returns and some other shit.
Do the right thing and stop sitting there holding your wife’s hand and get her ass out of trouble. By not having a five-year trial, you can leave the wife and the kids a little cash so that they are not destitute. Don’t put her through a trial at all!
Do the right thing. I know it’s not fair. You are not guilty of all 39 counts, maybe five or six will do. But do not make your wife go through a criminal trial. You take the fall. Most of the charges are bullshit, but some are not. And for the love of Gd, I hope Teresa’s attorney is advising her as to what is best for her, even if it is to flip on him. I don’t care.
Click here to read details about their bankruptcy and federal indictment on money fraud.