It’s been nearly three months since news of the shocking college admissions cheating scandal broke. It’s been almost a month since Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli officially pleaded not guilty for their involvement. And today, as the couple continues to prepare their defense for trial, sources say Loughlin is confident she won’t be found guilty. Facing charges of mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy, the beleaguered husband and wife could face up to 20 years in prison on each charge, if convicted.
On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced it had charged 50 people in the college admissions scam, including Loughlin and Giannulli. The couple had been exposed for allegedly shelling out bribes in excess of $500,000 in order to have their daughters Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella Rose, 20, designated as USC crew team recruits — thereby securing their spot at the prestigious university. Neither girl actually participated in crew, despite fabricated photos suggesting otherwise.
Still, Loughlin feels certain that pleading not guilty in April was a shrewd move. “[Lori] still believes she did the right thing by rejecting a guilty plea,” a source told People in this week’s issue, adding that Loughlin and her husband are “trying to get through this legal hurdle as a team.”
"Aunt Becky" isn't going to serve 40 years in prison. Lori Loughlin & her husband are looking at 20 years EACH if they're found guilty despite their "not guilty" plea. If found guilty, they will more than likely go to white collar prison & get out in less than 5 years. pic.twitter.com/u2TEGXOScq
— Holly B. Schulz (@Holly_Brooke7) May 29, 2019
Lori Loughlin has refused to take a plea deal in the Varsity Blues scandal and reports claim her legal defense will state that she did not know that what she was doing was illegal. @WhitJohnson has the latest. pic.twitter.com/WmqvolHdeh
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 25, 2019
Loughlin’s dogged belief she’ll be found innocent notwithstanding, the former Fuller House star isn’t unflappable. Per People’s source, “Lori is in a stressful situation. She isn’t working, and her whole life focus has changed drastically. It consists of waiting around for the next court date and planning her legal defense.”
As far as that legal defense goes, though, Loughlin is apparently very hands-on. Earlier in May, another insider reportedly told People that Loughlin is “extremely well-versed” and an “active participant” in her own case. “She feels like she’s got a valid defense, and that when all the evidence comes out, that she won’t be found guilty,” the insider said. “She is still looking into the avenues to defend herself against what she thinks is a meritless charge.”
Unfortunately for Loughlin and Giannulli, it might not be that cut-and-dry. In an exclusive interview with Hollywood Life, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Edward Molari explained that Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose may be “forced” to testify against their parents at trial. “If the government has evidence establishing probable cause that the children committed a crime, bringing charges against the children is entirely within the government’s discretion. That also means that if the government wants a child to testify against their parent, the government can force them to do so, whether they want to or not,” Molari said. This means that if either daughter had knowledge of their parents’ decision to participate in the bribery scam — and/or asked the girls to keep quiet about any part of it — they could have to spill all the details in court. “A child doesn’t have the right to withhold confidential communications made by a parent if asked about them in court,” Molari added, noting, “They also have no right to decline to testify against a parent if subpoenaed to testify.”
As of right now, a trial date has not yet been set.