By Teresa Ambord
On July 29, 2013, Joe and Teresa Giudice, husband-and-wife stars of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, were hit with a thirty-nine count federal grand jury indictment. Just over two weeks later, on August 14, they appeared in US District Court to enter pleas of not guilty through their attorneys. The Giudices didn't speak at all, but a CBS reporter in the courtroom said that at one point, Teresa mopped sweat off her husband's brow.
The court proceeding before US District Judge Esther Salas took five minutes. In reality, it probably took longer for the couple to make their way through the throng of reporters waiting on the courthouse steps for their arrival. In the end, the reporters got nothing.
Judge Salas set a trial date for October 8.
The Charges Recapped
The Huffington Post reported that in addition to the charges of falsifying mortgage and loan applications, submitting fake W-2s, and failure to file taxes for several years, Joe is also accused of using his brother's identity to obtain a driver's license. In 2009 the couple requested bankruptcy protection, listing debts which included $2.2 million in mortgage debt, bills to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom of $13,000, and $12,000 to a fertility clinic.
The Lawyers and the Scuttlebutt
The Giudices left it to their respective attorneys to speak for them in the courtroom and outside. Miles Feinstein, Joe's attorney, told CBS News, "At least one magazine had an article that Joe, my client, was going to testify against Teresa. That's absolutely not true."
After leaving the courthouse, rather than hide her head in the sand, Teresa headed straight for a book signing event with diehard fans. Meanwhile, her attorney, Henry Klingeman, told reporters she's being prosecuted because of her celebrity. "Teresa is an important figure, and it's important for her fans to know that she's confident but concerned. She's trying to do the things that any good mother and wife would do under the circumstances."
Forbes reported fellow Bravo reality TV star Bethenny Frankel speculated that Teresa isn't being prosecuted because she's a celebrity, but her celebrity drew attention to the couple's illegal activities. "My first thought today was, 'Oh if they weren't on reality TV, none of this would probably ever be exposed.' And it's funny how certain people are [like a] moth to a flame." She added she doesn't feel sorry for the Giudices, but she's concerned about the family. "Their kids didn't sign up for this."
The Giudices have four daughters at home.