Yesterday, we found out that Teresa and Joe Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey plead guilty to fraud charges, and that now they are awaiting their trial in July. But what does it all mean? We got past all that legal jargon and chatted with two NYC lawyers who helped us make sense of the whole situation, including what happened in court yesterday, what's up next for the couple, why jail is their only option and more. Here's the scoop:
Yesterday in court, Teresa and Joe "pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud, and pled guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004," according to Wendy L. Patrick, a career trial attorney who handles criminal law. But, pleading guilty actually helps the couple. Wendy continued, "In general, people often enter guilty pleas in order to avoid a potentially higher sentence if they were to be convicted at trial."
The sentencing, as we know, is scheduled for July. At that time, the judge will make a decision, and Teresa and Joe will likely surrender to the authorities right away, according to NYC trial attorney Richard Roth. But, he adds, the court may give the Giudices some extra time to spend with their family before getting locked up. And when asked if there's any other punishment for the couple other than prison, Richard said, "They are going to jail. No alternative."
As for what's going to happen in July? Wendy says, "Between now and the sentencing date, lawyers on both sides will likely be working diligently to prepare their arguments as to what the final sentence should be on each defendant." Basically what this means is that Teresa and Joe could get less time than the sentence originally claims—37 to 46 months for Joe and 21 to 27 months for his wife—and their lawyers of course are gunning for that to happen. Maybe the fact that the couple has four young daughters who need them will work in their favor?
On top of incarceration, Richard says that Joe is also facing possible deportation since he's an Italian citizen. But while TV and movies make it seem like opposite-sex jails aren't an option (thanks, Orange Is The New Black), Richard says that Joe and Teresa could end up doing their time together at the same facility.
"That depends on what the documents submitted to the Court say. Presumably, they will press for jails in the same location."
But now, we just wait. Both the plaintiff and the defendants' lawyers will prepare their pre-sentencing reports, says Richard, and their fate will be decided quickly by the judge at July's hearing. Stay tuned to OKMagazine.com for all the updates!
Are you sad to learn that Joe and Teresa are definitely going to jail? Do you think the judge will be easy on them because they're celebrities? Tweet us @OKMagazine.