Convicted criminals Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice sat down for an interview with Andy Cohen on What What Happens Live right after they both heard their sentences on various wire and bank fraud charges — and the Real Housewives of New Jersey couple walked away from the sit down, which was televised Monday night, with a tidy little check for $325,000.
The shocking sum, a fee clearly inflated by the fact that the pair are now admitted felons and are soon headed off to prison, was reported Monday by the celebrity news site TMZ.
The NBCUniversal-owned Bravo cable network, which airs both Real Housewives and Watch What Happens Live, told TMZ that it “disputes the amount.”
According to the TMZ report, the network first offered to pony up $275,000 for a one-on-one between Teresa Giudice and Cohen. But Bravo tacked an additional 50 grand on to the fee when “her less interesting husband” Joe also became part of the interview.
In the interview, the 42-year-old Teresa Giudice said she was “shocked” by her “unexpected” 15-month prison sentence — though why she found a prison sentence to be “unexpected” after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud remains unclear.
Joe Guidice, 43, was slapped with 41 months in prison. He reportedly also faces deportation following completion of his sentence because he is an Italian immigrant who never obtained U.S. citizenship.
The Giudice couple owe about a $414,000 repayment on a fraudulently obtained loan, so in one short interview, they will be able to pay back almost all of their debt.
But will Teresa and Joe Giudice actually be allowed to keep the money from the Bravo interview? New Jersey has a “Son of Sam law, which prohibits convicted criminals from deriving any profit exploiting and publicizing their crimes.
The law is named after the notorious serial killer David Berkowitz, who, under the alias of “Son of Sam,” terrorized New York City in 1976 and 1977. After his arrest, when Berkowitz began receiving lucrative offers to tell his life story in book form, New York passed the first “Son of Sam” law to stop Berkowitz and other criminals from making money off the fact that they have committed crimes.
Other states, including New Jersey, followed suit.
But in 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the original Son of Sam law as unconstitutional, saying that it was so broad it could be used against such classic works as The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
“The current version of the New Jersey law has been narrowed, so that Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice would have needed to openly discuss the details of their crimes during the interview with Andy Cohen, in order for the state to seize their payment under the Son of Sam law.”
In other words, Teresa and Joe Giudice will probably be able to pay back their fraudulent loan after all.