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Oct 15, 2014 1:28 PM

'Real Housewives' star wavers on taking plea deal

The Associated Press

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) One of the Real Housewives of New Jersey stars convicted of bankruptcy fraud this month in federal court apparently had second thoughts Wednesday when faced with the decision to go to trial in an unrelated state case.

A lawyer for Joe Giudice announced in court Wednesday that his client was turning down a deal that would have resolved false identification charges. But when questioned by the judge about the decision, Giudice appeared to waver, and the hearing was put on hold while Giudice conferred with his lawyer.

The false identification charged was brought after Giudice allegedly used his brother's identity to obtain a driver's license while his own license was suspended for driving while intoxicated in 2010.

He was charged with unlawful use of an ID, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence upon conviction, and impersonation, which carries an 18-month maximum sentence.

Wednesday's plea deal would have allowed Giudice to plead guilty to the lesser charge and serve 18 months, concurrent with his 41-month federal sentence. He wouldn't have to begin serving the combined sentence until after his wife, Teresa Giudice, finishes her 15-month sentence in the federal case, under a federal judge's ruling last month that took into account the couple's four young children.

Questioned by attorney Miles Feinstein in front of state Superior Court Judge Adam Jacobs on Wednesday, Joe Giudice indicated he would reject the plea offer and proceed to trial. But when Jacobs addressed Giudice directly and reiterated that he wouldn't be able to change his mind and accept the plea offer Wednesday, Giudice declined to give his approval and court was recessed until the afternoon.

The Giudices pleaded guilty in the federal case in March, admitting they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes totaling more than $200,000.


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