Teresa Giudice's Family Lawyer Says the 'Odds Are Against Joe' in Overturning Deportation Ruling
"He's in trouble," Giudice family lawyer James J. Leonard, Jr. said on Wednesday's Real Housewives of New Jersey, after Joe Giudice's second deportation appeal was denied
“I am shell-shocked,” said Teresa, who shares daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10, with Joe.
“I’m so drained,” she continued. “It seems like one bad thing after another. I feel like I’m just so numb. I feel like I can’t even believe this is happening.”
Later, Teresa admitted to feeling “helpless” — especially after talking on the phone with Joe.
“Joe was calling me and he’s like, ‘I’m sorry I let you guys down, I’m sorry.’ [He’s scared] … I’m scared too.”
“I want him to come home,” Teresa said. “We have four daughters together. I didn’t sign up to do this alone. … I’m scared.”
To help her process, Teresa met with her family lawyer James J. Leonard, Jr., who explained Joe’s next steps.
Unfortunately, they didn’t sound too promising for the Giudice patriarch.
“He’s in trouble,” Leonard told Teresa and her brother Joe Gorga, who was also by her side. “His immigration lawyers made the arguments to the lower courts and the courts have denied it very aggressively. They blew up every single argument. The next step is another appeal to the third circuit and saying, ‘Please, the lower courts have made mistakes.’ ”
“It could take months,” Leonard said. “We have to start the whole process all over again. But the problem is, this is his last chance. And you’re not bringing forward new information, so I think the odds are against Joe at this stage.”
“Immigration is the hottest topic on the planet and I think Joe is caught in the crossfire of that,” he added.
Asked by Gorga what chance, in percentage, Joe had of coming home, Leonard said, “it’s not good.”
“Fifty? Thirty? Ten percent?” wondered Gorga.
“Given what we learned this morning, significantly less,” said Leonard.
That statistic prompted Gorga to ask Teresa why Joe was continuing the appeal process.
“Why continue to fight? You’re burying yourself financially,” Gorga said, as Teresa reminded him that Joe’s daughters wanted him to fight. “When there’s not more money, it’s harder than that. So for your future, your daughters, your everything to keep going, you have to think as a business person — that he’s not coming home.”
“Sometimes you have to understand that it’s not going anywhere, and I have to move on,” Gorga said.
Teresa understood what her brother meant, but stressed that losing money didn’t scare her.
“I’ve been through financial strain before,” said Teresa. “I had to pay back taxes, I had to pay off all our debts. So how can I put a price tag on our daughters having their daddy home?”
RELATED: Teresa Giudice Defends Joe Giudice’s Behavior On RHONJ: ‘He’s Not Like That In Person’
Wednesday’s RHONJ episode was filmed in April.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Board of Immigration Appeals has denied Mr. Giudice’s appeal,” Leonard told PEOPLE in a statement at the time. “We have filed a stay with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and will continue to fight to keep Mr. Giudice in the United States, the only country he knows, and reunite him with his wife and four daughters.”
Joe’s immigration case stems back to October 2018, when a ruling was made that Joe would have to leave the country after he finished serving out his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud.
The Giudice father was born in Italy and lived there for a year before his parents relocated to America. He never obtained American citizenship and per U.S. law, immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.”
In March, Joe was released from prison, three years after first reporting. (Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison for the same crimes; she was released on Dec. 23, 2015.) He was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to wait out his appeal decisions.
Just this October, Joe moved to Salerno, Italy to find work while he awaits the court’s decision.
Teresa, who has been married to Joe for 20 years, went to visit him in November, along with their four daughters
In the past, Teresa’s been realistic about the fate of their marriage should he be deported, admitting on the RHONJ season 9 reunion that she’s “not doing a long-distance relationship.”
Speaking with PEOPLE after returning from Italy, Teresa said that she hadn’t yet decided whether she and Joe would stay together.
“We’re just going to take day by day and see what happens. That’s basically it,” she said. “I mean, I can’t predict the future, but as of now, it was two and a half days. It was too short to decide. But our daughters are the most important thing. We’ll see what happens. I mean, he lives in Italy, I live in America. I don’t know if that’s going to work.”
“I cried a lot,” she added, of the trip. “Just seeing my daughters with him and I was just very, very emotional. At the end of the day I just want Joe to be happy. I’m just happy that he was free.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.