7:28pm PT by Ryan Gajewski
'Real Housewives' Star Teresa Giudice on Prison Sentence: "I Just Want to Be With My Daughters"
The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Joe and Teresa Giudice believe that confusion with their legal team may have contributed to their longer prison sentences.
During a Watch What Happens: Live interview that aired Monday, host Andy Cohen asked why Teresa agreed to a plea deal, given that some analysts believed she could have avoided jail time without it. Teresa told Cohen that her lawyers never fully explained what she was agreeing to.
"I thought my lawyer was going to fight for me," Teresa said. "That's why you hire an attorney — you put it in their hands."
Cohen pointed out that the judge criticized the couple for not having completed all of their court documents, and Teresa said she was "shocked" that their legal team had neglected to do this for them.
The reality stars were sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in March to federal fraud charges. Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while Joe received a 41-month sentence. The couple's sentences are staggered so that one parent will remain home to care for their four daughters.
The couple, who were holding hands through much of the interview, said that 13-year-old Gia is the only one of their children who knows what their parents are facing. However, Joe admitted that 8-year-old Milania had asked him after the sentencing whether he had anything to tell her. She did not specify what she was referring to.
Teresa said she isn't scared about prison but is feeling "numb" and is worried about being away from her children. "I just want to be with my daughters," she said, adding that she hopes Joe will bring the girls to visit her at least once a week.
Joe, who said he felt like he has been "hit in the back of the neck with a baseball bat," wishes that he were the only one going to prison. "She had no part in my businesses," he said of Teresa.
He acknowledged that taking care of the four kids without Teresa's help would be a lot of work, joking: "I guess I'm going to be the housewife."
Joe and Teresa have each been ordered to pay $414,000 in restitution. Along with them admitting to hiding assets from creditors and submitting fraudulent loan applications, Joe pleaded guilty to not filing his taxes in 2004.
The second part of the interview airs Thursday on Bravo.