Teresa Giudice's family would have struggled either way with husband Joe Giudice behind bars, but it looks like the Real Housewives of New Jersey star had, for a mere moment, the possibility of just probation. Judge Esther Salas revealed on the stand on Thursday, Oct. 2, that it was what Teresa didn't file on her government report that led to her 15-month prison sentence.
"I will say on the outset, I'm going to focus on what I didn't say to your husband that all of the false declarations, wire fraud, and bank fraud is still your fault," Judge Salas told Teresa in her closing statement. "For a moment, I thought about probation until I read the government's report. What you did in the financial disclosure really sticks in my craw. It's what the court has a problem with. It shows blatant disrespect for the court," she explained.
"I've seen a lot but I've never seen the confusion and work that went into these financial documents…I need a full picture of who you are, I need a full disclosure of your financial assets," Judge Salas continued. "It's not because I want to be nosy. Because of that, I don't think you respect the laws of this country. You are not as bad as your husband, you do not have the criminal record that he has had, but you are complicit in it."
Teresa was directed on March 4 to fill out her financial disclosure form, but failed to list several of her high-end personal items — a move that clearly played a major part in her fate. According to the judge, the Bravo star left out items such as household furnishings, a 2006 Ford F-250 truck, a cement mixer, a Bobcat trailer, a 1993 Ford Ranger, and a 1997 Chevy Corvette. She also didn't mention anything about her Milania Hair Care and Fabellini lines.
"Getting this financial information that I need to judge this case was like pulling teeth, it was the most difficult in all my years as a judge and as a lawyer," Judge Salas added.
Despite the headache, Salas felt some compassion toward Teresa. As previously reported, the mom of four will complete her 15-month sentence before Joe serves his 41 months so that one parent will be with their daughters — Gia, 13, Gabriella, 9, Milania, 8, and Audriana, 5 — at all times.
"Mr. Giudice was the captain and he will have to live with the sentence I gave him. The first mate deserves a little bit of a break. You, quite frankly, display genuine remorse," Judge Salas said in court. "At the end of the day, I think you finally got it. You finally woke up. I think a slight variance is warranted."
The couple will spend the holidays with their children before Teresa reports for her term on Jan. 5. Both are expected to film their first post-sentencing interview on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live on Monday, Oct. 6.