Lori Loughlin will fight latest charge in college admissions scandal with 'not guilty' plea


Lori Loughlin may be “about to break” amid the college admissions scandal, but she is not changing her plea and seems intent on going to trial.

The Fuller House actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were both slapped with a third charge in the federal case on Oct. 22. Now, in a new filing by their legal team on Friday, they say they plan to plead not guilty to the charge of conspiring "to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission. In exchange for the bribes, employees of the university allegedly designated the defendants’ children as athletic recruits – with little or no regard for their athletic abilities — or as members of other favored admissions categories."

Loughlin and Giannulli also waived their right to appear at a Nov. 20 arraignment.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying disgraced college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer $500,000 in bribes to get their social media influencer daughters, Olivia Jade and Bella Giannulli, into USC by getting them designated as crew recruits, despite neither one ever participating in the sport.

If the case does go to trial, experts think it’s likely that Olivia and Bella would be called to testify. Olivia allegedly took a picture on a rowing machine and set up a fake crew profile to gain admission to the university. It could also leave the children open to criminal liability charges.

Olivia and Bella are not currently enrolled at USC.

Actress Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli exit the Boston Federal Court house after a pre-trial hearing with Magistrate Judge Kelley at the John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse in Boston on August 27, 2019. - Loughlin and Giannulli are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the college admissions scandal. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli leaving Boston Federal Court in August. (Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP/Getty Images)

In this week’s People magazine, Loughlin insiders reportedly said the actress is “about to break” over the scandal, which prosecutors dubbed Operation Varsity Blues and has seen more than 50 people — parents, administrators and others — charged.

“They feel like this is David versus Goliath,” the source said. “How do you go up against the federal government when the government has decided to make an example out of you? This stress is about to break them.”

The source also said that Loughlin regrets not making a deal with prosecutors — like Felicity Huffman, who has already completed her prison sentence and faced no additional charges like Loughlin and Giannulli have.

“Does she regret not taking the deal? Of course she does, because it would have been easier,” the source told People about Loughlin. “But taking the deal would have admitted guilt, and she believes she was duped by unscrupulous people who enriched themselves off of her. It is her position that she was not some sort of criminal mastermind.”

What’s next for Loughlin and Giannulli in the case, barring any additional charges prosecutors may impose on them, will be the arraignment for this third charge later this month. The pair then has a “status conference” with the judge for their case on Jan. 17. However, they are not required to attend either one.

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