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Lori Loughlin Finally Has a Trial Date in College Admissions Scandal

Updated Feb. 27, 2020, 1 p.m. ET:

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli will face trial starting October 5 in Boston, Deadline reports. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he expects the matter to be “completed well before Thanksgiving,” so the couple should expect to be sentenced before the end of 2020.

This week, Loughlin and Giannulli’s lawyers claim to have found “exonerating” evidence that proves the couple believed they were making a legitimate donation when they paid William Singer to help their daughters get into USC. The defense has also claimed that the government intentionally withheld this evidence, but the prosecution has dismissed both claims.

If convicted on all charges, the Full House star and her husband face a maximum of 50 years in prison (each), plus millions of dollars in fines.

While Felicity Huffman has already been to prison for her involvement in the college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin’s trial is still looming. On Tuesday, prosecutors in the case against the former Full House star released 480 pages of emails, transcripts of calls, and financial and academic records pertaining to the scam run by William “Rick” Singer. Among those papers are emails between Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and both Singer and a USC official that make it pretty hard to believe neither Loughlin nor Giannuli knew what was going on.

Currently, Loughlin and Giannulli have been accused of paying $500,000 to Singer for their daughters’ admission to USC as athletic recruits for the crew team. Fox News reports that their lawyers have argued the couple thought their payment was a legitimate donation to the university — but newly released emails suggest otherwise. When a USC official approached Giannulli offering to “flag” his daughter’s application, the Mossimo founder more or less sent them packing.

In other words: Giannulli had the opportunity to speak with “legitimate” USC officials and offer a donation in exchange for, at the very least, a guarantee his daughter’s application would be read in full. “It’s been a while and fall has now arrived so I just wanted to check in and see if your daughter is continuing with the admissions process at USC,” the USC official wrote in 2016. “Please let me know if I can be at all helpful in setting up a 1:1 opportunity for her, customized tour of campus for the family, and/or classroom visit? I’d also be happy to flag her application.”

“Thanks so much, I think we are squared away,” Giannulli wrote back. That night, he forwarded the email exchange to wife Loughlin: “The nicest I’ve been at blowing off somebody,” he wrote.

During the same time period that he was emailing this USC official, Giannulli was engaged in a back-and-forth with con artist Singer. The emails released Tuesday show Singer requesting “a picture with her on an ERG [rowing machine] in workout clothes like a real athlete” from Giannulli and later confirmed: “Got it all. Profile is being made as a coxswain and USC is awaiting my packet with the transcript, test scores and profile.”

Loughlin and Giannulli have submitted a not guilty plea for conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, and bribery. Unlike Huffman, who pleaded guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence, these two could be facing the full penalty for their charges, up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Loughlin and Giannulli hoped these newly released emails from USC would help their argument, showing that the school itself had hinted to a connection between likelihood of admission and giving a donation and that the couple reasonably believed their own payment was going through similar channels.

But the couple’s rebuff of the university official is being read in a different light by the prosecution, who reads this as a clear attempt to dodge legitimate channels. Loughlin’s case will have a status conference on Jan. 17 to establish a timeline going forward. The official trial date for Loughlin and Giannulli has not yet been set.

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