Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are reportedly planning to present a “united front” in court as they face charges stemming from the college admissions scandal that has ensnared dozens of wealthy parents.
Loughlin and Giannulli plan to use attorneys from the same Los Angeles law firm, Lathan & Watkins LLP, when they head to trial on charges of fraud and money laundering, according to documents obtained by The Mercury News.
“Giannulli and Loughlin are innocent of the charges brought against them and are eager to clear their names,” the documents read. “And they believe their interests will be advanced most effectively by presenting a united front against the government’s baseless accusations.”
The pair are expected to waive their right to separate attorneys at their next court appearance scheduled for Aug. 27.
Attorneys for the couple said the pair want a “common defense” because “a common defense often gives strength against a common attack.”
“Whatever happens, Giannulli and Loughlin will have their interests fully protected, and the case will proceed without undue delay,” they said in the documents.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told the local newspaper the move likely indicates that neither spouse plans to pursue their own defense or alter course and begin to cooperate with authorities.
“For the majority of defendants who cooperate, it can result in a significantly reduced sentence,” he said.
The decision to waive their right to separate attorneys would also make it more difficult later to win an appeal on the grounds of inadequate counsel, he said.
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to college admission consultant William “Rick” Singer to have their daughters, Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella Rose, 20, designated as recruits to the USC crew team, despite neither girl ever having participated in crew.
The pair are two of just 33 wealthy parents who were charged in the federal scandal—that included allegations of bribing college officials and altering college entrance exam scores in the hopes of improving their children’s chances of getting into elite universities.
Loughlin and Giannulli rejected an earlier plea deal offered by the prosecution reportedly because it involved jail time and plan to take their chances in court. If convicted, the couple could each face up to 40 years behind bars.
The scandal reportedly created strain between the couple and their two adult daughters, who were both attending USC at the time of their arrest.
However, daughter Isabella recently broke her silence on Instagram to wish her mom a happy birthday, writing “happy birthday mama. I love you” alongside a photo of the mother and daughter.
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