He tried his best. Joe and Teresa Giudice's lawyers presented Joe as a family man who tried everything possible to spare his wife from a prison sentence during their hearing on Thursday, Oct. 2.
"Joe tried everything he could to exonerate his wife, Teresa," Miles Feinstein told prosecutors and U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. "He wanted his wife to get the best deal she could get. He is a real man."
Feinstein also claimed that the Real Housewives of New Jersey dad, 42, has a troubling alcohol problem. "I've noticed it when he comes into my office, I can smell it on him," the attorney said. "He has also been arrested for possession of marijuana, he needs help with this. Being on the show didn't help either, the producers will give you alcohol before taping, it is a problem and I hope you agree that Joe needs help for his problem."
Joe himself addressed the court on Thursday. "I stand here humiliated before the court and my family and society," said the father of four daughters Gia, 13, Gabriella, 9, Milania, 8, and Audriana, 5. "I disgraced many people including my wife and four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I have grown and learned a lot about myself in the last few months and I promise to be a better person in the future. I will be a better husband and a better father."
Teresa's lawyer Henry Klingerman, meanwhile, said Joe's incarceration — which had been announced already — will destroy their family. "Teresa and Joe grew up in the same neighborhood, they have been married since 1992," Klingerman told the court. "Joe going to jail is the worst possible outcome, other than the death sentence, for her family. Joe going to jail will cause destruction for her family."
"I look at them now and they hold hands," Klingerman observed of the couple, who arrived hand-in-hand at the federal courthouse in Newark, N.J. "They will never hold hands at their daughter's graduation, their daughter's weddings, Teresa will be living in God knows what house with four teenage daughters whose father lives in Italy." (There is a possibility that Joe, an Italian citizen, could be deported.)
Pleaded Klingerman: "We need to consider the family circumstances. This family will be destroyed if both parents go to jail. She's their mother and is the only one who can take care of these kids, she's unique and the kids will be scared if she is taken away."
Klingerman also argued that Teresa's role on The Real Housewives franchise was the family's main source of income. "Teresa is also the main breadwinner for the household and has been for several years. Her primary source of income is filming the Housewives of New Jersey and she will not be able to film in prison," he said. "It is also not very possible she will be let back on the show after she is released. What was big five years ago, is not still big today. If she lost that job she would have no career to rely upon, no skills to rely upon, no income, no savings."
As Us Weekly reported from the scene, both spouses were ultimately sentenced to prison (41 months for Joe, 15 months for Teresa), after being chided by the presiding judge for "inconsistencies and omissions" in their financial disclosure paperwork.
"For a moment, I thought about probation until I read the government's report," Judge Salas told Teresa, 42, before ordering her to prison. "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."
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