The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa and Joe Giudice filed motions to conduct separate trials in the federal indictment against them, People reports.
The Giudices face up to 50 years in jail for 41 counts of fraud, including loan and bankruptcy fraud.
In court documents filed on Jan. 15, Joe maintains that Teresa had no knowledge or involvement in any criminal activity, but will only testify to that if the request for separate trials is granted. "He would be unable to do so in a joint trial wherein his Fifth Amendment rights are invoked," the document states.
More specifically, Joe's declaration states that Teresa did not know about any misrepresentation on loan applications, that various properties were acquired in her name, that various businesses were owned in her name, that Joe signed her name on numerous occasions without her knowledge or authorization, as did Joe's business partner, Joe Mastropole, and his lawyer, Fred Roughgarden. The declaration also alleges that other individuals such as bank representatives were aware that Teresa had not signed various legal documents.
"Unquestionably, [Joe] Giudice's conduct and anticipated testimony would be just as imperative to Teresa's defense. If the codefendants are tried jointly, and Mr. Giudice invokes his Fifth Amendment Right, Teresa will be prejudiced," the document says.
It is not yet known whether the Giudices will be granted separate trials. The couple are due back in court on April 9.
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