She’s not going down without a fight. Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli pled not guilty to the additional charges leveled at them this week in connection to Operation Oxford Blues. Their college admissions fraud case continues.
We were told that Loughlin is “at rock bottom” over the new charges. The prosecutors are piling on the charges against the celebrity couple, it appears, in retaliation for insisting on a trial with a jury instead of taking a plea deal as many of the other wealthy parents involved in the scandal have done. It’s not just Loughlin and Giannulli but the other parents who refused plea deals, too, who were hit with new charges of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.
“The new charges in the third superseding indictment allege that 11 defendants – Gamal Abdelaziz, Diane Blake, Todd Blake, Mossimo Giannulli, Elisabeth Kimmell, Lori Loughlin, William McGlashan, Jr., Marci Palatella, John Wilson, Homayoun Zadeh, and Robert Zangrillo – conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission,” United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a press release on October 22. “In exchange for the bribes, employees of the university allegedly designated the defendants’ children as athletic recruits – with little or no regard for their athletic abilities – or as members of other favored admissions categories.”
Loughlin was considering entering a guilty plea before she didn’t. It is reported that Giannulli is insisting against it. So, she backed off of that idea.
“Lori turned the corner and backed out of considering a guilty plea due to her husband’s insistence,” the source tells Us. “She had been talking to her lawyers about it, but her friends and family were encouraging her to pursue a plea deal. She’s only listening to Mossimo though.”
The day before the new charges were filed, USC confirmed that both of Loughlin’s daughters are no longer students there. Both girls had been in limbo since the initial charges were filed six months ago. The college didn’t allow them to withdraw, pending reviews.
The girls were not attending classes, but they were also not allowed to withdraw. Their time in limbo is now over though: They’re out, officially. The USC Registrar told People yesterday that “Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli are not currently enrolled.” The school would not confirm whether or not they were expelled because of the college scandal. “We are unable to provide additional information because of student privacy laws.”
The school last gave a statement on the girls’ admission status in April. Then, their admission was on hold: “USC has placed holds on the accounts of students who may be associated with the alleged admissions scheme,” the college told Us Weekly. “This prevents the students from registering for classes (until they have agreed to participate in the review of their case), withdrawing from the university, or acquiring transcripts while their cases are under review. Among many factors investigators could consider in reviewing each case are any developments in the criminal cases, including plea deals by parents. Following these case-by-case reviews, we will take the proper action related to each student’s status, up to revoking admission or expulsion.”
Rick Singer, the mastermind of the nationwide college admissions scheme, took a plea deal to save himself and became a cooperating witness. It seems to me he should be the one to be behind bars, not the parents who wrote checks to get their kids extra help in getting into college. The parents are not guilt-free, though, as they took away the chance for a qualified student to attend the school that the kids from the wealthy families wanted to attend and that is inexcusable. The parents should have received hefty fines (money is no object to them) that could go to scholarships for needy students, for example, and be sentenced to many hours of community service as punishment. Like parents who donate large sums of money and have a building named after them so that their kids are admitted, these families could have sponsored lots of kids in need who worked for college admission.
Loughlin and Giannulli should have taken the plea deal as Felicity Huffman did. They know what they did was wrong. Giannulli even talked about “working the system” to get his daughters admitted to USC. It’s a little late to be pulling out “muh principles” to waste the court’s time and resources and demand a jury trial. He tells friends that a guilty plea would end their careers. His stubbornness will likely end in both him and his wife serving the longest sentences of any of the parents. Huffman served 10 days of her 14-day sentence and has been released.
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