Teresa Giudice’s reality TV stardom hasn’t helped her keep anything resembling a low profile amid her ongoing federal fraud case, but despite the numerous setbacks it’s caused her, the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” is continuing to try to leverage her fame to bolster her legal defense fund.

In July, Giudice, 41, and her husband, Joe, were indicted on 39 counts of fraud, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements in loan applications. If convicted, they face up to 50 years in prison. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The indictments have resulted in blowback not only against the Giudices, but against Bravo, which produces the entire “Real Housewives” franchise -- a series that catalogs, as New York Times reporter Susan Dominus put it, “dysfunction in no fewer than six wealthy ZIP codes.” In early August, reports circulated that network executives were considering axing another season of the show, despite its continued popularity.

After weeks of sharing smiling Instagram photos of her family on the beach, Giudice attended a Meet and Greet at the Malibu Beach on Thursday night, reportedly to drum up donations for her legal fund. A press release for the event did not expressly encourage attendees to contribute money, but said that Giudice’s supporters were “seeking donations” on her behalf Radar Online reported.

 “Her supporters and millions of fans around the world strongly believe Teresa will be vindicated soon and are seeking donations for the reality TV star, who has four young children,” the release said. “The group is dedicated to helping Teresa stay out of prison and also help pay any fines or other restitution that Teresa and Joe are ordered to pay.”

However, Giudice denied reports that she had requested donations from fans, responding to a story on Twitter on Thursday night with the tweet, “I am just hearing this. What???” She then encouraged concerned fans who wanted to donate to make charitable contributions instead.





In past seasons of “The Real Housewives,” Giudice has steadfastly downplayed her family’s financial troubles. “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.”