Walter McBride / Retna Ltd. 1 / 9
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd. 1 / 9

The latest development in Teresa and Joe Giudice's shocking legal drama may literally tear the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star's family apart -- but the reality star is staying "cool, calm and collected" in spite of it all, her attorney Henry E. Klingeman told Us Weekly outside the courthouse in Newark, N.J. on Tuesday, where the couple were presented with their charges and penalties.

"She's been through a lot, as everybody who watches the show knows," Klingeman told Us. "[There have been] challenges, both personal and professional, and she deals with them in due course and she'll deal with this one."

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During the New Jersey courthouse proceedings on Tuesday, it was revealed that Joe, 43, is not a U.S. citizen, but an Italian one, and if found guilty of the bankruptcy fraud charges pressed against him, he could face deportation.

"The family is handling themselves with great dignity, but it's very traumatic," Klingeman said. "And when you have four small girls, it's tough for everybody, including the girls."

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The reality show couple are parents to daughters Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audriana.

On Monday, the pair was hit with a combined 39 counts of fraud and tax charges, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, who initially brought the case to light, told Us that the charges are "serious," and that the investigation into the Giudice's money troubles has gone on "for a pretty long time."

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"Their maximum penalties are in the hundreds of years," he explained, adding that "realistically," that kind of a sentence would not likely happen.

"Our bankruptcy proceedings depend on truthfulness from people who file from the protection of the courts; it's a system that's been devised to make sure people that have debts can, in fact, get out from under those debts but they have to be truthful with the courts," Fishman said. "The indictment alleges the Giudices did not do that."

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Joe's attorney Miles Feinstein, meanwhile, told Us that he is confident he will prove his client's innocence. (It is customary for every defendant in federal cases to have a separate attorney.)

"Every point has two sides and there is another side to this," he said. "We're confident they're not guilty but we haven't received the discovery [yet]."


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