The U.S. attorney overseeing the case against “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli issued a very public warning to the couple about the college bribery scandal.
Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, indicated that their best chance for a lighter sentence would be to plead guilty now.
“I don’t think I’d be giving away any state secrets by saying we would probably ask for a higher sentence for her than we did for Felicity Huffman,” Lelling told Boston ABC station WCVB on Sunday.
Lelling’s office asked for a one-month sentence for Huffman, who pleaded guilty after spending $15,000 for her daughter to cheat on the SAT exam. He explained:
There’s a few things working in her favor. She took responsibility almost immediately. She was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a classy way. And so, at the end of the day, we thought the one-month was proportional.
Huffman was ultimately given a 14-day sentence, which she is expected to start serving later this month.
“If people take responsibility for their conduct and they take responsibility for their conduct early on, then it will probably go better for them,” Lelling said.
Loughlin and Giannulli have taken the opposite route, fighting allegations that they spent about $500,000 to get their two daughters into USC as members of the crew team despite neither actually participating in the sport.
Lelling indicated the larger dollar amount in the case would be a factor against Loughlin and Giannulli, but said cooperating now could still help them.
“The longer a case goes ― let’s say if she goes through to trial ― if it’s after trial, I think certainly we’d be asking for something substantially higher,” the prosecutor said. “If she resolved her case short of trial, something a little lower than that.”
In the past, Lelling has called the case the “largest college admission scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.” So far, 15 parents ― including Huffman ― have pleaded guilty, while 19 others are fighting the charges.
(H/T Law & Crime)