Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are “not ready” to enter a plea in the college admissions scandal as they continue weighing their options while facing up to 40 years in prison each, according to a new report.
Actress Felicity Huffman recently announced that she was pleading guilty along with 12 other parents and an athletic coach. But Loughlin and Giannulli aren’t prepared to follow suit.
“They are not ready to make a plea like Felicity and go down that road. They are hoping to just let this play out in the judicial system. They are innocent until proven guilty,” an unnamed source close to Loughlin told CNN.
The couple is apparently upset that the media keeps hounding them, citing an incident where a TMZ cameraman took photos of Loughlin as she arrived at yoga class.
“They wish the media would just leave them alone. They feel like there is no story and don’t understand why the press keep hounding them and following Lori to yoga,” the source said.
William “Rick” Singer, head of The Key Worldwide nonprofit, pleaded guilty on March 12 to racketeering and conspiracy charges for accepting money from parents and funneling the money to testing administrators and university employees to boost test scores for students and get children into elite colleges.
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid Singer $500,000 to get their daughters, YouTube star Olivia Jade, 19, and actress Isabella, 20, into the University of Southern California.
In exchange for the money, Singer funneled some of the payment to an associate who worked at the school and got the girls designated as recruits for the crew team, despite their lack of experience in the sport, smoothing their entrance into the college.
The university said it has launched an investigation into students linked to the scandal in addition to already firing two staff members and putting one faculty member who was also indicted as a parent in the scheme on leave. The internal investigation includes a thorough review of the student-athlete admissions process, officials said in a statement.
Loughlin, Giannulli, and 14 other parents were hit with a second charge in the case, conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, which experts believe came after they declined to accept the plea deal the other parents took.
The second charge increases the possible prison time to 40 years if the defendants are convicted and adds more possible fines, up to $750,000 or even more.
For the initial charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, defendants face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
The second charge provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering.