A week after Felicity Huffman plead guilty to her role in the elite school admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli have told the federal government that she will fight them over conspiracy charges and has entered a not guilty plea this morning.
Almost two weeks after their last court stint in Boston, the couple have also waived their right for an arraignment on the matter. However, according to sources, that might not work out so well for Loughlin and Giannulli. The indicted duo can decide not to appear in person and have their lawyers there, but there must be an arraignment, adding a further twist.
The UTA-repped Loughlin and Giannulli were part of a yearlong investigation that also snared American Crime star Huffman and more than 30 other parents. The couple is accused of paying “bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” according to the 200-page indictment announced by federal prosecutors last month.
The indictments made public on March 12 saw 50 people charged in the $25 million nationwide scam by William Singer and his phony Key Worldwide Foundation. The plan was to grease some palms to fast-track the kids of the wealthy including Huffman and Loughlin to top schools with fake athletic credentials or phony SAT scores.
Among the 33 wealthy parents arrested, Huffman and Loughlin are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud, according to the unsealed indictment. Currently out on $1,000,000 bail bond and facing up to 20 years in prison, the Fuller House actress and her spouse were hit with an additional money laundering charge on April 9.
Clearly a further and now failed push to get the couple to make a deal, the new conspiracy charge also carries a maximum 20 year sentence and a big chunk of change in fines.
Earlier this month, law enforcement sources told Deadline that they were determined to seek some prison time for the defendants, including Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli.
Loughlin will have a lot of time on her hands to battle the U.S. Attorney and the findings of the “Operation Varsity Blues” probe.
Fired by Hallmark Channel on March 14 from all her projects with the outlet, including When Calls The Heart, the actress has been quietly dropped by Netflix from the upcoming final season of Fuller House on the streamer.