Joe Giudice began his 41-month sentence in March 2016

By Joelle Goldstein
March 08, 2019 07:10 PM
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It appears Joe Giudice won’t be returning home as soon as he initially expected.

The husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice, who was scheduled to be released from prison on March 14, will now remain behind bars for an “unknown” amount of time until a decision on his deportation is made, Page Six reports.

Giudice’s lawyer, James J. Leonard Jr., told the outlet that despite the delay in his release, his team is “optimistic [to] receive the appropriate relief” once his appeal is heard.

“The custodial aspect of Mr. Giudice’s federal sentence does, in fact, expire on or about March 14, 2019,” Leonard Jr. said. “However, due to the immigration order and detainer lodged against him, that is not a release date meaning he is not coming home on that date.”

“We are optimistic that once his appeal is heard, he will receive the appropriate relief and will be able to come home and remain there with his family,” he added. “They love him, they support him and they miss him tremendously.”

Leonard Jr. did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Joe and Teresa Giudice
| Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty

Joe and Teresa, both 46, have been married since 1999 and share four daughters together: Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 10.

The couple has remained by one another’s side through their legal problems, which first sent Teresa to prison for 11 months on the same crimes of mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud as her husband’s. The Bravo star was released on Dec. 23, 2015; Joe began his 41-month sentence in March 2016.

That support has appeared to cross over to Joe’s deportation ruling, which came in October. Even though Joe has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship and immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.

While Joe’s attorneys appealed his deportation ruling in November to prevent him from having to return to his native Italy, they are still awaiting a decision.

Joe and Teresa Giudice
| Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty

“I hope I don’t have to cross that bridge,” Teresa told Andy Cohen of Joe’s future, during a previous installment of the RHONJ reunion. “[The lawyers] are trying their best.”

Asked if Joe will have to go directly from the facility he’s in right now to an airplane, Teresa — who said she sees Joe about “once a month” — admitted she “[didn’t] know exactly the technicalities of it.”

She also gave some insight into Joe’s mental state, revealing to the host that her husband feels guilt over the possibly of leaving his family behind. “He has tremendous guilt, but he’s very positive, very strong,” she said.

Giudice family
| Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Despite showing her support, Teresa revealed on Wednesday that she and Joe would go their separate ways if he is deported during the taping of the RHONJ season 9 reunion.

“I’m not doing a long distance relationship. I’m not doing it,” Teresa told Cohen. “I want somebody with me every day. I know exactly what happens — I’m sure he’ll be with other women. It happens. You do the long-distance thing, it’s not going to work. I’d be like, ‘Bye-bye.’”

Teresa also said that moving to Italy with their four daughters just isn’t in the cards.

Teresa and Joe Giudice
| Credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Mount Airy Casino Resort

“Unless my kids say, ‘Mommy, we want to move to Italy,’ [we] are not going,” Teresa revealed during the RHONJ reunion. “Gia’s going to college next year; I haven’t spoken to Milania or Audriana about it, we haven’t gotten there yet; and Gabriella already voiced her opinion to me. She was like, ‘That would be so hard for me, Mommy.’ She doesn’t speak the language. She’s like, ‘That would kill me even more.’”

“It’s like starting a whole new life,” Teresa added. “And they’ve been through so much already.”

The mother of four was spotted without her wedding ring on Thursday.