Last year, Fuller House star Lori Loughlin shocked fans when she was charged by the FBI in a massive college admissions fraud scheme. Now, on Friday, she and husband Mossimo Giannulli silently await their sentencing. Of course, we weren’t in the midst of a global pandemic when the scandal first broke. Due to the novel coronavirus, Loughlin and Giannulli will appear virtually before a federal judge in Boston to be sentenced.
When the admissions scandal came to light, Loughlin and Giannulli were among 55 wealthy parents charged with bribing their children’s way into college. Specifically, the couple allegedly paid nearly half a million in bribes to secure their daughters’ admission into the University of Southern California. They reportedly also created fake profiles for the girls, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, to pass them off as crew recruits.
Throughout the ordeal, Loughlin and Giannulli have not made any public statements. Originally, they pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, in May, they changed their pleas to guilty to broker a deal with prosecutors. As part of that deal, federal prosecutors asked that Loughlin and Giannulli receive two and five months in prison, respectively. Loughlin would also be handed a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service, while Giannulli would see a $250,000 fine and 250 hours of community service. They’d both receive two years of supervised release.
Right now, their fate rests in the judge’s hands — and, for that reason, veteran Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Lara Yeretsian says Loughlin and Giannulli made a smart decision changing their pleas.
“District Court Judge Gorton has been more heavy-handed in sentencing compared to other judges presiding over the college admissions cases,” explained Yeretsian, who has represented celebrities like Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson. “By pleading guilty, they avoided the risk of a long prison sentence by a tough judge.”
Because of their plea deal, they’ll be appearing before Judge Gorton via Zoom to hear whether he accepts the terms of their sentencing. Regardless of which way it goes, the unique circumstances presented by COVID-19 could sway the outcome. “The coronavirus pandemic could impact what happens to the defendants once they’re sentenced. If either of them has a health condition, they may be allowed to serve their time on house arrest,” said Yeretsian.
Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are set to be sentenced today for their role in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. @DebRobertsABC reports. @danabrams gives us his expert analysis. https://t.co/OI3eHBJU1m pic.twitter.com/istu5DgEFf
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 21, 2020
However, former U.S. Assistant Attorney Neama Rahmani, co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers, suspects Loughlin and Giannulli won’t escape entirely unscathed.
“Loughlin and Giannulli will almost certainly be sentenced to a federal prison on Friday. After months of insisting they were innocent and filing motions to dismiss the charges, the celebrity couple finally caved when it was clear they would face a public trial with their daughters as key witnesses,” said Rahmani.
He elaborated, “The defense attorneys’ hands are tied and they have to recommend jail time for their clients at sentencing, the very same two- and five-month sentences the government is recommending. If the defense were to argue for less time, the government could claim that Loughlin and Giannulli breached the plea agreement and unwind the whole deal.”
Before you go, click here to see Loughlin & Giannulli’s new $9.5 million home.