Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty in college admissions scandal case
The former ‘When Calls the Heart’ star will plead guilty in the college scandal after more than a year of facing charges
Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with paying $500,000 in bribes so that their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, would be team crew recruits for the University of Southern California. The couple has maintained their innocence since the beginning of the charges.
The couple will plead guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton in a date yet to be decided. The couple was set to stand trial in October.
Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and Giannulli will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Loughlin will be sentenced to two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised released with 100 hours of community service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Giannulli will be sentenced to five months in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years supervised release with 250 hours of community service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
“Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case. We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling in a statement.
The couple will be the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal. They were set to face trial in October.
The guilty plea comes after Loughlin and Giannulli tried to get the charges dropped. The couple’s defense team argued federal prosecutors had coerced a witness, college scandal mastermind William “Rick” Singer, into telling fibs in the case. The courts ruled against Loughlin’s defense team, insisting on a trial.
Earlier this month, the judge Gorton said the college scandal charges wouldn’t be dropped after reviewing information from the government and defendants.
The 11-page court order read, “The defendants’ motion to dismiss the indictment or in the alternative to suppress evidence and order an evidentiary hearing is denied.”
Loughlin and Giannulli had hoped the charges would be dropped after Singer’s notes reported showed the FBI told him to lie in the case.
As NBC News explained, Singer’s notes suggested federal investigators “fabricated evidence to create the false impression that defendants knowingly paid bribes to corrupt insiders, rather than made legitimate donations to help their children’s chances of admission.”
Gorton, the U.S. district judge, called the “serious and disturbing.”
He wrote, “The court considers the allegations in Singer’s October notes to be serious and disturbing. While government agents are permitted to coach cooperating witnesses during the course of an investigation, they are not permitted to suborn the commission of a crime.”
But Loughlin’s team held high confidence that the cases could be dropped. After the decision, the couple planned to follow the next phase of their plan, which I reported for the Deseret News.
An unnamed source had told Us Weekly that Loughlin’s defense team planned to “grill Rick Singer on the stand. Singer could actually become a witness for the defense even though he has been cooperating with the feds.”
“There is no doubt that this is a major setback for her,” Megerditchian said. “It sure looked like the prosecution had made some major mistakes in prosecuting Lori and the others — but the judge just did not think it was enough to dismiss the charges. Now, Lori must prepare for the next stage — preparation for the trial of her life.”