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Lori Loughlin is likely to receive a tougher sentence than fellow actress Felicity Huffman if convicted, though just how much harsher her punishment could be remains to be seen.
Loughlin and Huffman were among dozens of wealthy parents charged earlier this year for their alleged participation in a college admissions bribery scheme. Huffman, who was accused of paying $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT scores altered, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to two weeks behind bars. However, Loughlin, along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of similar crimes, but have both pleaded not guilty; it’s a move that may cost Loughlin, the U.S. Attorney working the case said recently.
Speaking to Boston’s WCVB, Andrew Lelling, the U.S Attorney for Massachusetts, said that prosecutors will be pushing for a steep sentence for Loughlin.
“We will probably ask for a higher sentence for [Loughlin] than we did for Felicity Huffman,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly what that would be. … It’s tough to tell at this point how it’s going to develop.”
Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, were accused of paying Rick Singer — the confessed mastermind behind the scheme — $500,000 in order for their daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose to be recruited to the University of Southern California’s crew team, despite neither of them being student athletes. While Singer has pleaded guilty to various charges, Loughlin and Giannulli have both pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy.
While speaking to WCVB, Lelling praised Huffman — who publicly admitted to her crimes and apologized — for her handling of the charges.
“It just happened to be that Ms. Huffman was probably the least culpable of the defendants who we’ve charged in that case,” he said. He added later, “She took responsibility almost immediately, she was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a very classy way.”
Huffman pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy and fraud, and was sentenced in last month to 14 days in prison, 250 hours of community service, and a year of probation. A judge also ordered her to pay a fine of $30,000.
Prosecutors asked for Huffman to be sentenced to one month behind bars, which Lelling described as “proportional.”
“I think the two weeks that she actually got was also reasonable,” he continued. “We were happy with that. I think it was a thoughtful sentence.”
Lelling went on to say of Huffman’s sentence: “I think it sent a clear message to the other parents involved that there really is a good chance that if you’re convicted of the offense, you’re going to go to prison for some period of time, because the least culpable defendant, who took responsibility right away, even she got prison for some period of time.”
As they await trial, Loughlin and Giannulli, who are being defended by attorneys from the same law firm, are moving forward as a “united front,” according to court documents obtained by The Mercury News.
“Giannulli and Loughlin are innocent of the charges brought against them and are eager to clear their names,” their attorneys wrote. “And they believe their interests will be advanced most effectively by presenting a united front against the government’s baseless accusations.”
The couple’s legal team is scheduled to return to Boston’s federal court for a status hearing on Jan. 17, 2020, Deadline reports.
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