Former Hallmark and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her clothing designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are facing serious prison time after they bribed the University of Southern California to admit both of their daughters into the prestigious institution.
Some experts think the couple could see as much as 40 years in prison given the mail fraud and money laundering charges if convicted.
And federal prosecutors just put both Loughlin and Giannulli in their biggest dilemma yet.
It was a nationwide FBI probe that charged approximately fifty people.
Celebrity couple Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are both accused of paying $500,000 to the USC Crew department – a “donation” – so that their daughters Olivia Jade and Bella Giannulli, would be guaranteed admission.
At first, they were ready to fight the charges. If they had admitted their guilt immediately then they would probably have gotten a similar amount of prison time that Felicity Huffman received – which was four months.
But instead they decided to fight it and that’s when irritated prosecutors threw a money laundering charge at them as well, resulting in significant time behind bars if the dominoes don’t fall their way.
To add insult to injury, federal prosecutors in the case filed a junction with the courts claiming Loughlin and Giannulli’s law firm, Latham & Watkins, have a conflict of interest with the case because they had represented USC in the past.
Latham & Watkins slammed the motion as “baseless accusations.”
Latham & Watkins argued in court papers that there is “no material risk of a potential conflict as a result of its joint representation of Giannulli and Loughlin,” noting that they’d represented the couple for two decades.
The firm also wrote, “USC is not a party to this case, and its status as an alleged victim does not automatically trigger a conflict of interest requiring Latham’s withdrawal. Latham will avoid any direct adversity with USC by relying on co-counsel to handle any cross-examination of USC witnesses and any restitution proceeding in which USC’s financial interests are directly at stake.”
What the firm alleges is absolutely true. USC put out a lengthy statement on their website claiming to have no knowledge of the alleged bribery and that they take every admission seriously, alluding to the idea that this was a shady deal done behind closed doors.
Although, USC is allegedly worried this case “may cause public embarrassment” and “adverse publicity.”
It’s a little too late to be worried about something like that. It’s already happening before their very eyes.
The firm continued, “So when Giannulli and his wife, Lori Loughlin, learned that they faced federal criminal charges, they naturally turned to Latham — counsel they knew and trusted — to help them clear their names.”
The judge on the case has not issued a ruling.
One way it could work out in their favor is if the judge does rule that Latham & Watkins are no longer allowed to represent the embattled couple. That would mean they would need to start all over from scratch, which means the case would be continued as their new lawyers get up to speed on the case.
On the other hand, Latham & Watkins seem to be confident in their case if they want to “help them clear their names.”
Federal prosecutors might just be flexing its muscles at this point.