Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty to additional bribery charges in the never-ending college admissions scandal.
via Page Six:
The “Full House” star and 11 other parents were slapped with the fresh criminal charge of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery on Oct 22 — seven months after they were first named in FBI’s “Varsity Blues” operation.
The pair were previously warned by prosecutors that they would face additional charges if they didn’t plead guilty, the LA Times reported — but on Friday the two signaled they would keep fighting the case against them, no matter the mounting cost.
On Friday, Loughlin, 54, and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, 56 — already facing conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud — once again pleaded not guilty to the additional criminal charge, ABC News reported.
Most parents embroiled in the case, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, pleaded guilty to the charges against them in exchange for reduced jail time.
Huffman is already done with her stint in the big house — released early from a women’s correctional facility in California last Friday after serving just 11 days of a two-week sentence.
Loughlin and Giannulli were reportedly also offered plea deals, but declined and pleaded not guilty. In April, the feds slapped the couple with a second and much more serious charge of money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The duo are accused of paying $500,000 to scheme ringleader Rick Singer to have both her daughters accepted to the University of Southern California as fake rowing recruits.
Prosecutors will seek a “substantially higher” sentence for Loughlin than Huffman if she is convicted.
“The longer the case goes, let’s say she goes through to trial, if it’s after trial, I think certainly we’d be asking for something substantially higher,” US Attorney Andrew Lelling told ABC affiliate WCVB-5 earlier this month.
The fresh bribery charges were leveled against 11 parents accused of bribing employees of USC to facilitate their children’s admissions as fake athletic recruits.
Loughlin and Giannulli rejected the plea deal offer in March because they didn’t realize how serious the charges against them were, a source told People in April.
“They decided to roll the dice,” the source familiar with the negotiations told People, “and it may have been a bad gamble. Now they’re in worse shape than before.”
With the new charge, Lori Loughlin and her husband are facing around 50 years in prison and MILLIONS in fines if found guilty. They are REALLY trying to make an example out of her — and she’s letting them.