The saga of the college admissions scandal continues. Last week, we reported that Lori "Aunt Becky" Loughlin and her designer husband Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty to paying $500,000 (£375,000) to fraudulently get their daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose into the University of Southern California.
Their plea came after they reportedly originally thought prosecutors were bluffing when they rejected a more lenient plea deal. Loughlin and Giannulli face a minimum of four years and nine months in prison, but could get as much as 20 years now, since prosecutors have added additional money-laundering charges.
Sources told TMZ that Loughlin and Giannulli reportedly "didn't know" that the sum they were paying Rick Singer, the alleged mastermind behind the scandal, was going into the pockets of the USC soccer coach.
"First, ringleader Rick Singer did not tell them how he would use the $500K to get their daughters into the school," TMZ reported. "Fact...they were aware Rick Singer wanted pics of the girls on a rowing machine, but they say that doesn't mean they knew the end game. It's true...knowledge and intent are key elements to proving bribery, and we're told Lori and Mossimo's lawyers are making that a centrepiece of their defence...their only intent is to generally get their daughters into USC by using a 'facilitator' who got hundreds of other students into colleges."
One hole in their story, notes TMZ: According to the complaint, they sent at least £75,000 directly to the university's assistant athletic director.
Laura Janke, a former assistant coach for USC's women's soccer team, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to commit racketeering, after signing a plea agreement that could mean she will testify against Loughlin. If found guilty, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Janke allegedly helped Singer create fake athletic profiles for rich people's kids, like one with Loughlin and Giannulli's daughter Olivia Jade on a rowing machine.
To recap, we're being asked to believe that the celebrity couple sent Janke and Singer a photo of Olivia Jade — who has never been on a crew team — on a rowing machine, but "didn't know" what they were paying Singer half a million dollars for. Okay! Meanwhile, Olivia Jade is reportedly blaming everything on her parents and says she is ready to rebuild her YouTube-vlogging brand.