Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty in College Admissions Scandal
Nearly 20 people charged in the massive admissions scandal have pleaded guilty, but that’s not stopping Lori Loughlin and her husband from fighting back.
Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband are pleading not guilty in the college admissions bribery scam, the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed Monday.
The celebrity couple, along with eight other parents, filed documents in U.S. District Court in Boston on Monday to waive their right to appear for an arraignment, and asked the court to enter the not guilty plea on their behalf. It is not immediately clear whether the judge will accept their request or force the parents to appear in court.
Loughlin, the 54-year-old actress best known for playing Aunt Becky on Full House, and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have been accused of paying William Singer $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to USC as crew recruits, even though neither teen had participated in the sport. The alleged payment was made out to Key Worldwide Foundation, a non-profit organization run by Singer.
The not guilty plea comes just days after Loughlin and more than a dozen other parents were slapped with additional fraud and money laundering charges by a federal grand jury for their alleged roles in what has been described as the “largest college admissions scam prosecuted by the Justice Department.”
The 16 parents charged in a second superseding indictment last Tuesday now face several charges, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, honest services mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to the documents filed Monday, Lori and Giannulli also waived their right to appear in court for their arraignment on charges in the superseding indictment arraignment.
Prosecutors allege the parents charged paid admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, 58, more than $25 million total to rig test scores, cheat on standardized tests, and bribe college coaches —all with the goal of getting their children into elite universities. Among the charged was fellow actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty to her role in the scam last week.
“I have some concerns and want to fully understand that game plan to make sure we have a roadmap for success as it relates to [our older daughter] and getting her into a school other than ASU!” Giannulli allegedly wrote in an email to Singer, according to Tuesday’s indictment.
Both daughters, YouTube star Olivia Jade and Bella, have left the school since the scandal erupted, and several beauty brands have dropped the elder daughter from advertisement deals. The Hallmark Channel also cut ties with Loughlin.
According to People magazine, Loughlin and her husband are reportedly reluctant to plead guilty because of how it would affect their relationship with their two daughters.
“She is very concerned about what a guilty plea would do to her daughters, who may not have grasped everything that was going on,” an unnamed source told the publication on Saturday. “Yes, she can think about the public perception of her, but that’s nothing compared to what her daughters think of her. So that is something that has understandably made her less likely to enter a plea.”
Representatives for Loughlin and Giannulli did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.