Real Housewives of New Jersey Reality Star Theresa Guidice and her husband “juicy” Joe Guidice are charged in U.S. District Court with Bankruptcy Fraud, Mortgage Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire and Mail Fraud.
The defendants’ motion for separate trials is at the center of the high profile couple’s most recent legal woes. Initially they were charged with trying to hide assets while in bankruptcy. The newest charges, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications stem from Government allegations that the couple prepared a mortgage loan application stating that Teresa Giudice worked as a real estate agent and made $15,000 a month. In reality, authorities claim she was not employed.
News reports claim that the Giudices have been charged with over 41 different counts of fraud and, if convicted, could spend the next 50 years in prison.
Set for trial in April, the couple’s lawyers argued that Joe Giudice wants to be able to exonerate his wife through his testimony–but wouldn’t be able to do so if he decides not to take the stand at their joint trial. In addition, their attorneys motioned the court for separate trials because Teresa’s testimony to clear her name could conflict with her marital privilege not to testify against her husband.
In response, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a strongly-worded objection claiming the couple is not entitled to separate trials.
“Such difficulty does not infringe upon a fundamental right, and it manifestly does not require the Court to hold two separate trials on identical offenses for the sake of preserving marital harmony.”
The prosecutors also cite Joe Giudice’s history of false testimony, notably in a bankruptcy matter involving a former business partner, as another reason to deny the separation of the trials. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Morris Stern is quoted, calling Joe Giudice “unbounded as a prevaricator” with a “say-anything, do-anything” attitude on the stand. Finally, prosecutors say the two should be tried together for “judicial economy.”
It will be interesting to see how the Court rules on this motion. Generally, Florida and Federal Courts recognize that partners can claim a privilege from testifying about certain spousal communications in order to protect marital relationships from the harm that would befall them if spouses could be forced to testify against each other. However, Judges have to balance the sanctity of these relationships with the competing need to avoid the harm caused when evidence is withheld from trials. Balancing these competing needs has resulted in various exceptions to, and underlying requirements for, the spousal privilege.
Have you been charged with Bankruptcy Fraud in Boca Raton? Call us today to discuss your options. Local: (561) 367-8777 or statewide, toll-free: (866) 608-5529.