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Exclusive: Lori Loughlin’s Guilty Plea Could Help Protect Her Daughters Olivia Jade & Bella Giannulli

The legal battle isn’t over yet for Lori Laughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.

On Thursday, it was reported that the couple has agreed to plead guilty in connection to the Operation Varsity Blues college admission scandal that secured enrollment at the University of Southern California for both her daughters, though neither the actor nor her husband has formally submitted their pleas. Loughlin is set to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, for which she is facing a two-month prison sentence, as well as a $150,000 fine, two years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service. Giannulli, who is set to plead guilty to a count of honest services wire and mail fraud in addition to the conspiracy charge, is looking at a five-month sentence, $250,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service.

But as former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani exclusively tells SheKnows, it’s possible that Loughlin might not serve any time in a prison facility at all. (Remember: Felicity Huffman, who was also implicated in the scandal, served only 11 out of her 14 days in prison after she accepted a plea deal.)

“Usually by statute, you have to serve 85% of the time,” Rahmani said of Loughlin’s expected time served. “But with COVID-19, the Bureau of Prisons is doing things differently. Especially if anyone’s at risk, they’re doing home confinement,” he said.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it has released 2,932 incarcerated people to serve home confinement instead of serving time in federal facilities, NPR reported. Given many prison facilities are ill-equipped to handle coronavirus cases, and it is difficult to practice social distancing in many of their spaces, activists and advocates believe that releasing people will help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially among vulnerable people.

Rahmani called such a move “unprecedented,” and pointed out that other high-profile people like lawyers Michael Avenatti and Michael Cohen have been transferred to home confinement. “Before this situation, they would have to serve almost all the time in prison,” Rahmani noted. “That may change because of coronavirus and it’s really up to the Bureau of Prisons to determine what happens.”

Rahmani also believes that the way Giannulli is set to plead guilty may have been designed to help exonerate Loughlin, and further protect their daughters, Olivia Jade and Bella Giannulli. (None of the children implicated in Operation Varsity Blues have been charged with any crimes.) “You can plead and say, ‘Listen, this was all me, my kids had anything to do with it. They didn’t know,’” he said, pointing to Huffman’s plea deal. “So you plead and accept responsibility and you exonerate your family.”

Olivia Jade, who left USC last year, recently wished her mom a happy Mother’s Day on Instagram, calling the Full House actor “one of a kind.”

“You are my best friend and have held my hand every day for 20 years making it look like motherhood is an easy job,” the influencer, who boasts over 1.3 million followers on Instagram alone, wrote. “I love you so so so much & cannot wait to give you all the love in the world today & forever.” The only time she has come close to referencing her parents’ trial was during a recent YouTube, at which she said she was “legally not allowed to speak on anything going on right now.”

Before you go, click here to see the biggest celebrity lawsuits over the years. 

Harvey Weinstein, Ashley Judd, Rose Mcgowan

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