'Real Housewives of NJ' stars plead not guilty - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

'Real Housewives of NJ' stars plead not guilty

Posted: Updated:

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Husband-and-wife stars of the "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday to a host of financial fraud charges that allegedly stretch back to 2001.

Teresa and Guiseppe "Joe" Giudice made their pleas in U.S. District Court after passing through a gauntlet of news media outside the courthouse. Two weeks ago, before their initial court appearance, a brief tussle had broken out between the couple and a horde of reporters and photographers. On Wednesday, marshals set up metal barriers to form a walkway into the building.

The Giudices were charged last month in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.

Neither defendant spoke before, during or after the five-minute court proceeding, and their pleas were entered by their respective attorneys. Teresa Giudice, dressed in a cream-colored pantsuit and with her hair in a bun, was scheduled to appear at a book signing in northern New Jersey later Wednesday to promote her cookbook, "Fabulicious: On The Grill," according to her official website.

"We have told them to continue life as they've lived it," Miles Feinstein, an attorney representing Joe Giudice, said. "They have contracts with Bravo and others, and they shouldn't imprison themselves."

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas set a trial date of Oct. 8, but attorney Henry Klingeman, representing Teresa Giudice, said he expected the trial to be pushed back into 2014 due to the number of charges and complex nature of the case. Joe Giudice also is facing charges in Passaic County that he used his brother's identity to obtain a driver's license, presenting his marriage and birth certificates, and that case could reach trial before the federal trial, Feinstein said.

Joe Giudice is an Italian citizen and could be deported if convicted, prosecutors said two weeks ago. Feinstein said Wednesday his client came to the U.S. as a 2-year-old and wasn't aware that he wasn't an American citizen.

The couple is accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before their show debuted in 2009, then hiding their fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after their first season aired. They are also accused of submitting fraudulent mortgage and loan applications and fabricating tax returns and W2 forms. Prosecutors allege Joe Giudice also failed to file federal tax returns from 2004 to 2008.

Both face hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines, if convicted and given consecutive sentences, but federal sentencing guidelines would likely greatly reduce the penalties.

The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming they owed $11 million, including $2.2 million in mortgages, $13,000 to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and nearly $12,000 to a fertility clinic.

Teresa Giudice has parlayed her fame into cookbooks, a line of ready-made bellinis and "Skinny Italian," a specialty food line. On the show, she is known for her expensive tastes and combative relationship with her brother and sister-in-law. They have four children.

"She's concerned, but she's taking care of business, taking care of her children, getting ready for school," Klingeman said. "I'm confident we'll have a really strong defense. I'm confident in her."

Klingeman added that it would be a challenge to pick a jury "that hasn't formed a conclusion about her, good or bad," based on her television persona.

___

Associated Press writers Alicia Rancilio and Ted Shaffrey contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Ocean crash kills teen pilot seeking world record

    Ocean crash kills teen pilot seeking world record

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:03:01 GMT
    A family spokeswoman says an Indiana teenager was killed when his plane crashed while trying to set a record for an around-the-world flight.More >>
    His pilot's license fresh in his hands, an Indiana teenager set out in June for the adventure of a lifetime: an around-the-world flight with his father designed to break a record and raise money to build schools in his...More >>
  • Ohio veteran cited for ducks hopes for law change

    Ohio veteran cited for ducks hopes for law change

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:56:55 GMT
    COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) - An Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder is now hoping for a change in the Ohio village law that prohibits him from keeping the animals in his backyard. Darin Welker, who served in the Army National Guard, was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. The village is about 80 miles east of Columbus. Welker and his attorney said Wednesday that village officials are considering the possibility of a n...More >>
    COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) - An Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder is now hoping for a change in the Ohio village law that prohibits him from keeping the animals in his backyard. Darin Welker, who served in the Army National Guard, was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. The village is about 80 miles east of Columbus. Welker and his attorney said Wednesday that village officials are considering the possibility of a n...More >>
  • More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

    More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:31:15 GMT
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading. Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with ...More >>
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading. Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms