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Actress Felicity Huffman will likely spend less than a year in jail after pleading guilty in the college admission scandal that sent shockwaves through the nation, but fellow actress Lori Loughlin’s sentence could be more severe.
Prosecutors have said they plan to seek a sentence at the “low end” of sentencing guidelines for Huffman recommending a jail term of four to 10 months; she could also be faced with a $20,000 fine. Huffman agreed to plead guilty earlier this week to paying $15,000 to have a proctor boost her daughter’s SAT score, CBS News reports.
But while Huffman has admitted her role in the scandal, saying she "betrayed" her oldest daughter and accepted “full responsibility” for her actions, Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have reached no deal with prosecutors.
"Felicity Huffman pleading guilty and giving such a perfect statement of remorse and contrition is a very bad sign for Lori Loughlin. … If you go forward and fight this case you really could wind up with a sentence that is a lot of time in prison," CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said.
Loughlin and Giannulli were also slapped with an additional felony charge of money laundering conspiracy, along with 14 other parents charged in the case.
The federal government is typically guided in its sentencing by a table that classifies each offender based on the severity of their crimes on a scale of 1 to 43, People reports.
While Huffman was determined to have a lower number on the scale, due to her admission of guilt and the fact that she paid a lower amount of money than other defendants, Loughlin and Giannulli are likely to have a higher "offense level," People reports. They're accused of paying $500,000 to have their daughters designated as recruits of the USC crew team, even though neither had participated in crew.
Loughlin could face up to 40 years in prison if she’s convicted, but will likely face a term closer to three to five years based on the sentencing of other defendants with a similar level of crime, according to People.
Loughlin has not admitted guilt in the case and could still fight the charges against her.
“There is some discretion involved in the sentencing,” Adam Citron, a former prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney, told the outlet. “And she’s doing herself no favors by treating these court appearances like she’s going to the Oscars. What the court is looking for is humility.”
Huffman and the others who have agreed to guilty pleas will have to return to Boston to formally enter their pleas.
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