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Lori Loughlin ‘saw the writing on the wall’ before guilty plea, celebrity crisis manager says

Why did Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli decide to plead guilty?

Lori Loughlin departs federal court Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Boston, after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions baribery scandal.
Lori Loughlin departs federal court Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Boston, after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions baribery scandal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne, Associated Press

Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, flipped the script on the college admissions scandal Thursday by agreeing to plead guilty in the scandal. But apparently it’s just “the tip of the iceberg,” a legal expert says.

On Thursday, Loughlin and Giannulli agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal after more than a year facing the scandal.

The celebrity couple had been charged with paying $500,000 in bribes so daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli could be crew recruits for the University of Southern California. The couple maintained their innocence for more than a year.

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.

Longtime Hollywood crisis manager Howard Bragman told the Deseret News Thursday that Loughlin and Giannulli agreed to plead guilty Thursday in the college admissions scam because they saw the “writing on the wall.”

“And they said, ‘Oh, this is kind of where it’s gonna be, and what’s happening. We’re running out of options,’” he said.

“And at every turn, they were shot down. And I think they realized they were going to lose. And had it gone to court, they could have faced a much longer jail term. That’s why most people cut deals,” he added.

So Loughlin and Giannulli looked at the case before them and decided to cut a deal, Bragman said.

Most recently, the couple’s defense team tried to get charges dropped. The defense team argued that federal prosecutors encouraged college scandal mastermind William “Rick” Singer to lie in the case.

As NBC News reported, 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.”

U.S. Judge Nathanial Gorton, who is overseeing the case, called the allegations “serious and disturbing,” according to NBC News. Loughlin’s team hoped to get the charges dropped over the allegation. But Gorton denied to drop the charges, setting up the trial for October.

That was a long haul that Loughlin and Giannulli were prepared to fight. The couple have fought the case if they wanted to, Bragman said. They have the money to pay the “millions and millions” of legal fees, he said.

But the couple likely listened to their lawyers’ advice about the scandal, and believed they could lose the case.

“And I think they went in and they fought until they realize they can fight no more,” he said. “And we don’t know if it was the lawyers who said, ‘enough,’ or if it was them who said ‘enough’ or a third party who told them to stop. But somebody got to them and said, ‘It’s over.”

The future is a long time away, Bragman said. The couple will need to see their guilty plea accepted. And, after jail time is served, Loughlin will need to do a television interview to talk about the scandal if she wants to regain favor among the public.

“They’re certainly not at a point where they see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Bragman said. “But, at the same time, they’re closer than they were. “