In the latest baffling development to come from the massive college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are reportedly claiming they didn’t realize they were making a bribe when they paid scam ringleader Rick Singer $500,000. Per TMZ, sources familiar with the case say that Loughlin and Giannulli didn’t take a plea deal because they are so confident they have a solid case.
Wondering how they could come to such a conclusion? According to TMZ, the couple’s defense plans to cite the fact that Singer didn’t explicitly tell them how he was going to use their $500k to help get their daughters — Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose — into the University of Southern California. Since knowledge and intent are crucial elements to proving a bribery charge, Loughlin and Giannulli’s lawyers intend to use the argument that this case lacks both where the pair is concerned.
Granted, they obviously knew that Singer wanted pictures of Olivia and Isabella on a rowing machine (which they took). Still, they allegedly plan to double-down on the argument that Singer didn’t tell them exactly what the photos were being used for. Then there is also the matter of Giannulli sending $100k directly to the assistant athletic director. But sources tell TMZ that the couple could counter that with a basic premise: Colleges have allowed parents to make “donations” for decades.
An interesting foil to Loughlin and Giannulli’s ignorance-is-bliss defense is the fact that former USC assistant coach Laura Janke just pled guilty to charges stemming from the scandal.
So, what was Janke guilty of? Among other things, she allegedly created fake athletic profiles for the kids of wealthy parents, including a crew profile for Olivia Jade. Janke conspired directly with Singer to make students seem like high-performing athletes so that they would be admitted to elite universities. According to CNN, Singer emailed Janke to request a fictitious crew file for Olivia Jade. “Ok sounds good,” Janke responded. “Please send me the pertinent information and I will get started.”
Felicity Huffman, another high-profile star indicted in the scandal, took a plea deal for paying $15,000 to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs. “My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her,” Huffman said in a public statement. “This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”
Loughlin and Giannulli are among 16 sets of parents facing federal charges in what has been deemed the largest college admission scam in American history. Of the 33 total parents facing charges, 13 have agreed to plead guilty.