Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with admissions scandal at USC, the U.S. attorney in Boston said on Thursday.
Loughlin’s plea agreement calls for two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Giannulli’s agreement calls for five months in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service.
Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, will plead guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton on a date that has yet to be set. There will be a pre-hearing for the couple on Friday at 11:30 AM ET via video conference.
Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, the U.S. attorney said, all subject to the judge’s approval. Loughlin’s plea agreement is here, Giannulli’s is here.
Loughlin and Giannulli were accused of paying “bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their offspring 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 indictment that was made public last year. More than 30 parents across the country were implicated in the scandal, including Felicity Huffman, who last year pled guilty and served a 14-day prison sentence in October. Loughlin and Giannulli are the 23rd and 24th to plead guilty, according to the U.S. attorney.
The plea agreements are a big turnaround from even a month ago, when Loughlin and Giannulli were still trying to get the case dismissed. Their attorneys claimed that previously withheld evidence showed FBI agents pressured William “Rick” Singer and his Key Worldwide Foundation into falsely implicating the duo and others and their big money efforts to get their daughters into top tier schools.
But prosecutors, while admitting it was a mistake not to turn over evidence earlier, pushed back against the couple’s claims of prosecutorial misconduct. “The defendants’ core allegations of misconduct are premised on a straw man: that this case is only about bribery,” the U.S. Attorney wrote in April. Prosecutors also unveiled new documentation that directly countered Loughlin and Giannulli’s persistence that they never knew the half a million they handed over to Singer and his foundation were anything other than “legitimate donations” for university programs.
In a statement U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said, “Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case. We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions.”
According to federal prosecutors, they faced much higher sentences if found guilty at a trial. The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud provides for a sentence of up 20 years in prison.