Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here. After more than a year of maintaining their innocence, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli have pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal and will each serve time behind bars.On Friday, the judge neither rejected nor accepted the terms of their plea agreement, saying he’ll…
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On Friday, the judge neither rejected nor accepted the terms of their plea agreement, saying he’ll issue an official ruling after reviewing pre-sentencing reports. The couple is scheduled for official sentencing on Aug. 21 at 2:30 p.m. for Loughlin and 11:00 a.m. for Giannulli.
Loughlin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and to honest services wire and mail fraud.
“If the court accepts the deal, I fully expect they will serve jail time,” Michael Zweiback, founding partner of Zweiback Fiset & Coleman, told Fox News.
Loughlin reportedly would serve two months and pay a $150,000 fine, along with two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.
Giannulli could reportedly serve five months in prison, pay a $250,000 fine with two years of supervised release and be required to complete 250 hours of community service.
“If they do not serve time, then the outcry will be that they did receive preferential treatment. Especially given that other defendants in this case have served time in prison,” Zweiback continued. “The court has the ability to make it clear in the order that the Bureau of Prisons should not release them to home confinement. “
California-based attorney Lara Yeretsian told Fox News that “being rich and famous actually worked to their disadvantage.”
“They became the poster child for the prosecution’s case, so their celebrity backfired on them. The only difference between their sentence and that of other parents is that they know what they’re getting because it’s agreed upon, but it’s no less than what other parents have gotten,” she explained.
San Diego criminal defense attorney David P. Shapiro said Loughlin and Giannulli believe that entering into a plea deal was the best decision for the couple, as trying to appear sympathetic to a jury would be a major risk
“Loughlin and her husband, initially adamant about their innocence, appear to have made the sound decision to resolve their case for sentences considerably less than what they would have most certainly received if they were convicted at trial,” he said.
Shapiro also felt that the pandemic played a role in their decision, as well.
“The logistics of putting on a jury trial in the midst of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly played a role in the government’s decision to make this ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ offer to Loughlin and her husband, no matter how much they may deny it,” he said.
Loughlin and Giannulli will become the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal, which came to light last year and saw parents pay large sums to scam mastermind William “Rick” Singer to get their kids admitted to the schools of their choice through various allegedly fraudulent means.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement.
Loughlin and Giannulli previously pleaded not guilty to expanded charges of bribery brought against them in October 2019, along with 11 other parents swept up in the scandal.
The duo was accused of arranging a total collective payment of $500,000 to Singer to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, recruited to USC as athletes on the crew team, despite never having participated in the sport.
Nearly two dozen parents have already pleaded guilty in the case, including former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman. She served almost two weeks in prison after she admitted to paying $15,000 to have someone correct her daughter’s entrance exam answers.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy and the Associated Press contributed to this report.