PATERSON, NJ -- One of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars already headed to federal prison for bankruptcy fraud pleaded guilty Wednesday in an unrelated state case.
Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice accepted the plea deal after initially telling a judge through his attorney that he would go to trial on charges of unlawful use of an ID and impersonation. The hearing was briefly put on hold while Giudice conferred with his lawyer.
The false identification charged was brought after Giudice allegedly used his brother's identity to obtain a driver's license while his own license was suspended for driving while intoxicated in 2010.
He was charged with unlawful use of an ID, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence upon conviction, and impersonation, which carries an 18-month maximum sentence.
Under the deal, Giudice will be sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be served concurrently with his 41-month federal sentence. He won't have to begin serving the combined sentence until after his wife, Teresa Giudice, finishes her 15-month sentence in the federal case, under a federal judge's ruling last month that took into account the couple's four young children.
Questioned by attorney Miles Feinstein in front of state Superior Court Judge Adam Jacobs on Wednesday, Joe Giudice indicated he would reject the plea offer and proceed to trial. But when Jacobs addressed Giudice directly and reiterated that he wouldn't be able to change his mind and accept the plea offer Wednesday, Giudice declined to give his approval and court was recessed until the afternoon.
The Giudices pleaded guilty in the federal case in March, admitting they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes totaling more than $200,000.