Former “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges amid a wide-ranging college admissions scandal.
According to the New York Times, Loughlin and Giannulli both pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The couple is accused of paying half a million dollars in bribes through a fraudulent nonprofit to get their daughters admission to the University of Southern California through placement on the crew team, though neither young woman is a crew athlete.
Loughlin’s not guilty plea comes a week after over a dozen parents accused in the cheating scam, including Felicity Huffman, agreed to plead guilty — Huffman to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
An unidentified legal source, reportedly with knowledge of the situation, told People magazine that the actress and her husband previously rejected an opportunity for a plea agreement, perhaps underestimating the seriousness of the allegations.
“She probably should have taken the deal, but at the time, she didn’t really realize how serious the charges were,” the source said.
“More than that, I think she and her lawyers underestimated how motivated the prosecution was. So she didn’t plead, and then they hit her with another charge. Now she’s willing to negotiate, but the prosecution says that the deal is off the table. So the only choice they’ve got is to plead not guilty. That’s all they can do.”
Loughlin and her husband could reportedly face up to 20 years in prison for either charge if they are convicted.
It is not known when Loughlin is next expected to appear in court.
[Feature image: AP Photo/Steven Senne]