Reality television stars involved in white collar crimes? Reality television has developed a reputation for not being entirely authentic, based on the idea that many of the shows are actually scripted. Regardless of whether or not this perception is true, two reality TV stars are currently dealing with a very real problem: Teresa and Joe Giudice have been charged by federal authorities for several counts of fraud. The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast members pled not guilty to all of the charges. Pleading not guilty at arraignment is very normal. What will happen next is the question.
Reports from federal court specify that the Giudices were both charged with the white collar crimes of one count of bank fraud and loan application fraud. The charges stem from the accusation that the couple inaccurately reported their monthly income when they were applying for a loan.
Unfortunately, these fraud charges are the latest in a string of legal troubles facing the celebrity couple. In fact, they couple pled not guilty in another criminal case for providing false income and tax information. Additionally, Joe Giudice has been accused of filing false tax returns. The hope is that these legal challenges will not create an unfair bias in the most recent case.
The Giudice’s attorney noted that the couple’s public profile could also impact the jury selection process. If potential jurors know about the celebrity’s — or seek out more information — they could develop unfair and prejudiced opinions about the couple even before the trial starts.
Fairness is one of the most important components of the justice system, so it is important to sure that the deck isn’t stacked against a defendant from the very start. No matter what kind of notoriety a defendant has, he or she is entitled to be considered innocent until proven otherwise.
Source: CBS Atlanta, “‘Real Housewives’ stars plead not guilty,” Katie Zezima, Nov. 20, 2013