Lori Loughlin has not yet faced trial for charges in connection with the college admission scandal, but the actress is fighting until the day she does. Loughlin wants the college admissions case dismissed, alleging that the prosecution, the US Attorney’s Office, engaged in misconduct in attempts to obtain damning evidence against Loughlin and other defendants. The Full House star maintains that she only ever considered funds given to USC to be donations — not bribes in exchange for her daughters’ admission to the school.
TMZ reports a number of claims from Loughlin’s defense team that suggest the prosecution used intimidation and outright lies to build their case. The defense claims that Rick Singer, the ringleader behind the college admissions scandal, referred to Loughlin and other parents’ payments as donations, but FBI agents directed him to call them bribes instead. Singer also claims that the FBI instructed him to lie on recorded calls.
Further, the defense claims that this new evidence about the FBI’s actions reveals that Loughlin thought she was making a legitimate donation all along. Singer reportedly told the FBI that clients “typically do not know that [former USC official Donna] Heinel is involved until the time of their first payment,” which suggests they may not have known the payment was suspicious.
Loughlin is quoted in court documents maintaining her belief that these payments were legitimate: “I had questions about USC,” she said. “I was like, ‘Well, maybe the way they got in you’re not supposed to get in like that. I don’t know, like can you,’ but Moss [her husband] was like, ‘No you can make a donation. It’s ok,’ like I don’t know. Uh, yeah, I don’t know. But it’s all on the up-and-up.”
While there does appear to be some murkiness when it comes to what this payment was for and who it went through, there’s also the matter of daughter Olivia Jade’s alleged involvement with the crew team. Previous reports claim that Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli supplied photos of their daughter rowing (she was not a rower), which would suggest they were aware of this element of her application being fabricated.
Loughlin and Mossimo are currently facing charges of conspiring to commit fraud, money laundering, and federal programs bribery. If convicted on all charges, the couple could face upward of 40 years in prison. Their trial will begin on October 5, 2020.
Lori Loughlin’s not the only high-profile celeb to get in trouble with the law. Check out these other celebrity lawsuits from over the years.