Inside Teresa Giudice's Final Hours of Freedom

by Zach Seemayer 6:17 PM PST, January 05, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Teresa Giudice surrendered to police at 3 a.m. Monday to begin serving her 15-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn. Now, ET has a look at how the Real Housewives of New Jersey star spent her last few hours before going behind bars.

According to Giudice's attorney, James J. Leonard Jr., Giudice surrendered at 3 a.m. – seven hours earlier than the reported time – but only because that was the earliest that the correctional facility would accept her. Giudice and her attorney actually arrived in Danbury at 1:45 a.m. and spent the last remaining moments at an all-night restaurant.

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"We decided to go to a local diner called Elmer’s Diner," Leonard told ET. "We ate and talked and had a good time."

While it may seem strange that a person could have a good time waiting to start a 15-month prison sentence, Leonard said that Giudice was resolved and determined.

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"She was very strong. Her spirits were very good. She was not down in any way but for the fact that she is going to be missing her children and she is going to be apart from them," Leonard said. "What struck me more than anything was, throughout the entire ordeal, when she has talked about this prison sentence, it was never, 'How is this going to affect me?' It has always been, 'How is this going to affect my children?'"

"She wore a black sweat suit and obviously she [will have] a uniform when she gets there," Leonard said. "She looked beautiful. She looked as if she could've begun filming another episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Her hair and makeup were intact, and she looked great."

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The 42-year-old reality star was sentenced to serve time on Oct. 2, 2014, after she and her husband Joe Giudice pleaded guilty to 39 counts of fraud -- including bank, wire and mail fraud -- in March 2014. According to reports, the couple earned over $5 million from their crimes.

Joe and Teresa Giudice were allowed to serve consecutive sentences so that one parent could stay at home with their children while the other was behind bars. After Teresa serves her time, Joe will begin his 41-month sentence.

VIDEO: 'RHONJ' Star Teresa Giudice On Facing Prison Time

In addition to serving time in prison, they will be required to pay $414,000 in restitution.

Leonard also revealed how Joe was dealing with his wife's imminent absence in the hours before she surrendered.

"He was very somber," Leonard revealed. "I think the enormity of all of this finally hit him... He was very low key and, you know, it was tough. It wasn't easy for him."

VIDEO: Former Crisis Manager: Teresa Giudice a 'Mess'

Leonard weighed in on how the separation will affect their marriage and their family.

"Teresa has faith in her husband and they have a very strong support system between other relatives and family friends," he said. "She knows that her children are in good hands while she is gone."

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So now that Teresa is incarcerated, the question is whether she will actually serve her entire 15-month sentence.

"Your expectations are you will serve 85% of your sentence and that then you will be able to get out… on house arrest at some point prior to the 85%," Leonard revealed. "Right now, barring any change in her sentence, she is probably there until December."

Check out the video below for more on Teresa's early morning surrender to the Federal Correctional Institution.