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'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' stars Joe and Teresa Giudice have pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges.

The last thirty minutes of tonight's season finale of Real Housewives of New Jersey was an interview with Joe and Teresa Giudice, talking about their federal fraud charges for the first time since the news broke.

Andy Cohen explained at the beginning of the interview that many questions were off limits per their attorneys, but he did get a surprising amount of answers out of the Giudices.  They opened up about everything from who they'd leave their kids with (Joe says NO WAY to the Gorgas), whether or not they blame the show for their troubles (yes), if they feel they've lived beyond their means (no) and so so much more! 

The interview was taped about four weeks after they were charged.  Andy starts out by asking what the last month has been like.  Teresa says, "I'm not happy about it. I'm sad.  I can't believe this is happening to us. It feels like a dream and I have to be strong. For my husband and my children.  I'm trying to do the best I can." 

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Were they surprised by the charges? Joe and Teresa both say "yes".  Joe says, "There were talks, but we didn't know exactly what was gonna happen".

On not staying out of the spotlight since the news broke, Teresa says, "I'm not crawling under a rock and hiding. That's not me. I'm still gonna be the person who I am and the day I go to court and we resolve this, everyone will see who Joe and I really are and I'm not running away."  Joe says "We pleaded not guilty for a reason because we're not guilty. If we were guilty we would've pleaded. So, there was no reason for us to plead.  We're just going to stay positive and keep our chins up and keep moving."

On her cast mates' reactions to the news, "They've all been very supportive.  Some texted and some called. My brother and Melissa called."

On what they've told the kids about the charges,  "Gia knows there's something going on, but she's good, we've talked to her.  We're like 'mommy and daddy have to go to court and mommy and daddy are gonna fight this' and she's good with it." 

When Andy suggests that at almost 13, Gia knows more than just a "little", Teresa explains "she doesn't know exactly what the charges are, but ya know. "  Joe says "heck, I don't even know what half the charges are so…I don't understand all that stuff, but whatever". 

Has Gia asked specific questions about the indictment?  "No, she she knows it's about business dealings and she knows our attorneys are handling it and that's it." 

Does Gia know they can face serious jail time?  Teresa's reply,  "I think she knows that sometimes things are exaggerated, especially in the magazines.  So, we really haven't gotten into that.  Gia's a smart girl, if she wants to ask me that specific question, I'm sure she would ask me.  If she would feel more comfortable we'd let her speak to our attorneys if that would make her feel better and maybe that would."

Andy asks Teresa who she wants to care for the girls if she's not able to "I'm not really thinking about that right now. I'm just focusing on my family, being a wife, a mom to my four beautiful daughters."

On if she'd consider letting Joe and Melissa care for the girls, "like I said, I'm not focusing on that right now. I'm focusing on staying positive, being a mom, being like every other mom out there."   Joe says "If God forbid something should ever happen where we'd have to worry about where the kids would go, It wouldn't be Melissa and Joe. It would be my sister, we have my brother.  Which I don't even think my kids would want to go with Melissa and Joe with all the things they say on television about their mom."

Have Joe and Melissa been supportive? Juicy immediately says "not really". Teresa says "I mean, yeah, they are"  (as Joe continues to say NO in the background).  Teresa says "they call, but there's nothing anybody can do."  Joe says "we appreciate that they call here and there."

Andy talks about how petty things seem on the show now compared to what's going on in their lives with this case.  Joe says "that's all bullshit" (the show drama). 

Andy asks if he thinks the show brought the charges on and Joe says "Absolutely, yeah.  If I wasn't on this show, nobody would care". 

Was it something he was concerned about before he came on the show?  "No. like I said, I'd love to answer all the questions that you're asking me right now. I have an answer for them, but I was advised not to answer any questions regarding that. That day will come."

These charges stem from before they came on the show, so Andy is wondering if they then thought about it before joining the show. Teresa responds, "No, if it was we never would've came on the show." 

Are there things they have done and said on the show that they now regret? Joe says "No, if it was gonna happen, it would've happened anyway."  Teresa answers, "I mean, I didn't say anything".  Joe, "it's done, whatever is done is done.  We just need to put it behind us and move forward."

Andy asks her if she regrets saying it was gross to live in a used house back in season one.  Teresa says she regrets having that image. "I've worked since I was 14. I've always been a hard worker and I'm a hustler and yeah, I do regret saying that because people had a different perception of who I really am and took it the wrong way."

How do they feel about continuing with the show.  Teresa: "I still want to keep working and I just hope the other women on the cast have the same respect and give me the respect because if this was happening to them I would give them that respect."  Meaning "I can't speak about legal issues and I don't want them jumping down my throat like 'why aren't you telling me', because nothing can be discussed. The only person things can be discussed with is with my attorney."

Andy plays a clip of Jacqueline asking Teresa about going to jail (last season) and Teresa replies, "you can see I was so hurt by it.  I didn't know what she was talking about at that time. It was all new for me. Same as Jacqueline, she doesn't get involved with her husband's dealings, that's how I was with Joe.  That's why I was like 'I don't know what you're talking about. It was just strange to me."

Teresa reiterates that she doesn't get involved in Joe's finances. 

What is your reaction to 39 counts?  Teresa: "I feel like I'm numb to it.  I feel like I have to.  Everyone's like 'how could you be so strong?' I have to be strong."

Andy asks who does the finances in their home.  Joe chimes in "I mean, I do. We have accountants and lawyers. You hire people to do all this stuff. We don't do it".

Do they feel like they've been roped into something? Teresa: "Well, obviously. Unfortunate but I'm a big girl and I have an attorney and we're gonna fight this." 

Andy brings up Juicy sharing a "real" moment this season, admitting being scared over the DMV case.  Joe says, "It's in the back of your mind.  You can't let it interfere with your every day activities, otherwise you'd be a mess.  I do think about it, but I don't let it break me down."  Teresa says "I feel bad for my husband, I feel bad for the whole situation. I'm like 'why?'  We're good people. I don't understand why this is happening to us."

Andy says "you feel like it's happening TO you?"  Teresa pauses and says "No, it's just like I said, it's strange to me. When this happened, I'm like now I have anxiety where I wake up in the middle of the night. I used to sleep like a baby, but now I get up in the middle of the night. I do have sleepless nights."

When she has those sleepless nights, what's her darkest fear or thought?  "just you know, thinking about everything."  Andy says "going to jail?" she says "no, I mean like I said, Andy, I'm being positive. Strong and positive for my husband, my kids. Being a mom.  Moms are strong. Moms can't break down. I'm the rock for this family. Everyone always thinks I put up this front, but no.  Moms are strong. They have to keep it together."

Does Joe think the DMV case has exacerbated the trouble with the feds?  "No, those are two separate charges.  It all stemmed from obviously the DUI that I got, which I wish never would've happened. To tell you the truth, I wasn't even drunk. the times I should've been charged I wasn't ,but the one time really wasn't drunk, I get charged. What are you gonna do? When i was driving on a revoked, they caught me driving on a revoked. I had to do a week, I had never been in jail before."

What was jail like?  "I didn't like it. I just kept myself busy. made friends with a couple of trustees and cleaned tables, mopped the floors, whatever it was just to keep myself busy. Worked out all the time."

Does Joe think about that week behind bars now?  "yeah, I mean, it was interesting.  You meet a lot of interesting people in there. You meet everybody in there. Attorneys, you name it. It was an interesting week, let's put it that way."

On Joe's not being a U.S. citizen?  "Yes, I am.  I have a green card. I'm legal here.  I just never went and applied for my citizenship. I'm a legal resident. I got my green card."

Is he worried about being deported, "I'm not even gonna worry about that until that day comes. Like I said before, we'll have that day (in court).  We've got the attorneys to take care of that.  I was born in Italy, I came here when I was a year old and I've been here ever since."

Do they feel they've ever lived beyond their means?  "No." they both say.  Joe says "We've never lived beyond our means.  Whatever I could afford to buy, I would buy. We work hard. We're allowed to make money, that's what we do. I'm a business man. I make money. I'm not there to make other people money."

Andy asks if Joe worries that Teresa is spending too much. "now her being on the show, she has to buy new things. You can't be on the show and wear the same thing twice."  Teresa says "thank you, honey". 

They say they knew a few years ago there was an investigation into their finances. After the bankruptcy, Teresa says.  Joe shared "we had some people from the IRS come by and didn't think nothing of it and here we go..".

In hindsight, do they feel like they've made any mistakes?  Teresa opens her mouth and blinks a bit.  Joe says "as far as what?".  Andy says finances-wise.  Joe "nobody's perfect. everyone makes mistakes. I don't know exactly what question you're asking me, but I make mistakes every day."

Do they take any responsibility for what happened relating to these charges? Joe says "No." 

On the 50 years in prison possibility, Teresa and Joe haggle over how many years are possible and she says "well 50 is what the magazines say, if you count up all the charges, that's what they said."

Andy says that just hearing about the charges, he got emotional because of knowing Teresa and says he understands why Teresa is being strong, but where is her emotion in this? "I can't fall apart Andy I have my daughters.  They mean the world to me. Maybe out of all this, I don't know.  You go through things in life and I don't know why.  I'm asking 'why is this happening to me?' but maybe this is just something we have to go through right now so we learn something.  They say everything in life is a learning lesson, so maybe something my daughters can learn from this is 'my mom was really strong through all this, she was there for us.' I hope they always have that with them."

Andy says "I have to ask as someone who has known you for a long time, do you think you could survive in jail?"  Again Teresa responds with, "I can't even think about that. I don't even think about that." Andy asks "you don't ever??"  She shakes her head and says "no. no".  Why?  "because I haven't done anything."  Joe says "she hasn't done anything so why should she think about jail?" 

Do they think people watching at home will think they're in denial (despite her claims of staying staying strong).  "I hope not. Of course you're gonna have people that are gonna be saying that.  I'm not in denial. If I go crawl under a rock then people will be talking about how I don't leave my house and say that I'm falling apart and 'she has four children, how could she let this happen?'  So it's like you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't.  I never even knew I was this strong.  It's hard for me to get emotional sometimes, but I do.  I'm human."

Would they have done anything differently?  Teresa says, "I think about that in my head.  I go back and forth. I think sometimes maybe if I didn't do the show none of this would be happening, so that does cross my mind. Do I regret doing the show? There's good things and bad things. Like anything else." 

Again on the charges, "it's like a dream to me.  I don't even understand those 39 counts. the one thing that really sticks out is that I've done none of that."  She asks Andy if he has any of the charges written down, he fires off a few from the list and Joe makes a comment about "how do even you do that?" when Andy reads off the wire and mail fraud one.  And Andy says "did you do any of that?" Teresa says "No."  Andy asks if she understands the charges.  "Some of them I understand and some of them I don't.  As I'm going along, I'm learning more."  

TELL US – DO YOU THINK THAT TERESA'S IN DENIAL?

 

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