PATERSON, N.J. -- After thinking things over, Joe Giudice has accepted a plea deal in a fraud and forgery case, in which he has been accused of using his brother's marriage and birth certificates to obtain a driver's license in 2010.
The plea deal, which will allow Giudice to forgo a trial, required the reality TV star to plead guilty to possession of a fraudulent driver's license. He initially faced a more serious charge of willfully using the identification of another -- a second-degree offense that carried a maximum 10 years in prison. Under this deal, Giudice accepts an 18-month sentence that will run concurrently with his previously arranged federal prison sentence.
Earlier today, Giudice, 42, told a Paterson, N.J., judge that he rejected the deal, because it required him to admit guilt. However, he changed his mind after the judge asked him to think things through.
He and his wife, Teresa Giudice, who was ordered to spend 15 months in prison, will serve their time separately, which the court determined was in the best interest of their four children.
"I just want to apologize that I got you into this mess," he told his wife in a televised interview after his federal sentencing. "If I could take it all back, I would."