Teresa and Joe Giudice, the reality TV stars who were indicted on 39 counts of fraud charges in July, may have to watch footage from their own show, “The Real Housewives Of New Jersey,” in federal court, if prosecutors have their way.
The couple, charged with committing bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and making false statements in loan applications, appeared in court in Newark, N.J., on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. Joe and Teresa are accused of inflating their income when they applied for loans before “The Real Housewives” first aired in 2009, and of later failing to accurately disclose their increased incomes when they filed for bankruptcy. Prosecutors also allege that they submitted false mortgage and loan applications and lied on tax returns and W2 forms, the Washington Post reported.
Joe Giudice, who risks deportation as an Italian citizen, is also accused of failing to file tax returns between 2004 and 2008, and of using his brother’s identity to get a driver’s license. And according to the Daily News, the couple’s involvement with the Bravo reality series could work against them.
Prosecutors are reportedly asking Bravo producers to turn over raw, unaired footage of the two taken for “The Real Housewives.” “For every hour that airs, there are more than 20 hours of unedited footage,” a source with knowledge of the situation told the publication. “They shoot for three months and end up using only the footage that fits into the story line they want to focus on.”
Aside from the negative publicity the Giudices’ legal problems have brought the network, the source added that Bravo was frustrated with the request because most unused footage is put into storage and never looked at again. “The network is not happy,” the source said. “Everyone is asking if ‘Housewives’ ruined Teresa. The real question is, will Teresa ruin ‘Housewives’?”
Concerns about the show getting canceled due to the Giudices’ legal woes have been circulating for more than a month. In July, Darren Del Sardo, a New Jersey attorney, told Fox411 that the case could likely result in many cast members being called to testify as witnesses.
“The network could also be called as a witness to support an increase of anticipated income paid by Bravo to Teresa that was not disclosed in her bankruptcy filing,” Sardo said. “In addition, they could be asked questions regarding the Giudices' business operations that Bravo followed at the time of the filing.”
But despite the possibility of a 50-year jail sentence, Giudice hasn’t seemed too affected by the charges. Hours after appearing in court, the 41-year-old housewife hosted a book signing for her cookbook, “Fabulicious: On The Grill.”
The housewife has also been spotted hanging out with her family and friends at the beach this summer. On Aug. 11 and 12, she shared several photos on Instagram of her family sunbathing on the Jersey Shore.
“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.”