Loughlin, husband’s fate hazy as they plead guilty
Full House star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty Friday to paying half a million dollars to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as part of a college admissions bribery scheme, but a judge has not decided whether he’ll accept the deals they made with prosecutors.
The famous couple appeared on separate screens during their video hearing, both sitting with a lawyer, showing no emotion as the prosecutor detailed their crimes and making no comments other than to answer questions from U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton.
Under their proposed deals, Loughlin, 55, hopes to spend two months in prison and Giannulli, 56, is seeking to serve five months.
But the judge said he will decide whether to accept the deals after considering the presentencing report, a document that contains background on defendants and helps guide sentencing decisions. Gorton scheduled their sentencing hearings for Aug. 21.
Loughlin and Giannulli were among dozens of wealthy parents, athletic coaches and others charged last year in the bribery scheme. The parents paid hefty bribes to get their kids into top universities with bogus test scores or fake athletic credentials, authorities said.
Loughlin has also agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. Giannulli has agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.
Loughlin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges of money laundering and federal programs bribery that were added after the case was filed.
Legal analyst Peter Elikann called the deal on the table a low-risk proposition for Loughlin and Giannulli.
“If the judge doesn’t want to do the sentence that they agreed upon with the prosecution, then they’re allowed to back out. So it’s what we call in the legal profession, a free bite at the apple,” said Elikann, a longtime criminal defense attorney who teaches criminal law at Bridgewater State University. “The judge either goes ahead and accepts what they do or what they want, or they can back out and they live to fight another day.”