Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have been worried about their legal fates for months now, but it’s possible their daughters should do the same. Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani exclusively tells SheKnows that Loughlin’s daughters may be charged in connection with the college admissions scandal — and that evidence exists suggesting Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli were more than bystanders in their parents’ actions.
According to Rahmani, there’s a strong chance that Olivia Jade and Isabella will at least be called as witnesses in their parents’ trial, if not charged themselves. “Evidence seems to show that Loughlin and Giannulli’s daughters were aware of the fraudulent conspiracy, participated in it willingly, and acted to advance the conspiracy,” Rahmani tells us. “If the parents go to trial, they also leave their children open to criminal liability charges.”
So, what exactly is this evidence? “There are fake photos of [Olivia Jade and Isabella] on rowers,” Rahmani says. “They [allegedly] submitted fake applications to USC…they can’t argue it was all mom and dad. They are involved.”
Loughlin and Giannulli submitted a ‘not guilty’ plea in April, and have made no indication that they’re looking to reverse it. Rahmani believes that allowing this case to go to trial will set their daughters up for failure.
“When Felicity Huffman pled guilty, she took full responsibility for her actions and apologized to her daughter, husband, family, and educational community,” Rahmani points out, adding that this apology made it clear Huffman’s daughter had been unaware of her mother’s actions. “If Lori and her husband would come forward, assuming responsibility, it might protect their daughters from being prosecuted.”
But in Rahmani’s expert opinion, that’s not the option Loughlin and Giannulli are pursuing. “I expect their attorneys to argue that they too were victimized by Rick Singer, because they thought they were making legitimate donations to USC,” Rahmani explains. “That may be a tough argument for the jury to believe, however, especially when there is evidence that Loughlin and Giannulli doctored photos and helped their daughters submit fraudulent admissions applications.”
Because Loughlin and Giannulli took the extra step of having their daughters recruited for USC’s crew team (despite neither playing the sport), it does seem unlikely that Olivia Jade and Isabella were unaware of their parents’ actions. At some point, they must have received documentation from USC welcoming them to the crew team, or otherwise indicating their expected athletic involvement. So, how aware were they really? And will Loughlin and Giannulli insist on a trial, even if it puts their daughters at risk?
Loughlin and Giannulli currently face charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery. Their trial date has not yet been scheduled.
Additional reporting by Sara Kitnick.