Lough­lin, hus­band’s fate hazy as they plead guilty

Khaleej Times - City Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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