Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are sticking together as a united front as their court date for their involvement in the college admissions scandal is fast approaching.
The couple have pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, bribery, and money laundering for allegedly paying $500,000 (£404,000) to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, into the University of Southern California by falsifying recruitment to the school’s crew team. They are among 33 parents who have been charged in connection to the scandal the FBI dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Boston, both Loughlin and Giannulli are being represented by attorneys from the same Los Angeles law firm. Prosecutors argue that the couple’s joint representation runs the risk of their attorneys needing to divide their loyalty between the co-defendants. During the proceedings, the couple is expected to waive their right to separate representation, saying they understand the potential for it to become a conflict of interest. The only benefit to them separating counsel is if one might be convinced to testify against the other or cooperate for a lesser sentence. Spousal immunity in court means neither of them can be forced to testify against the other; however, it doesn’t mean they can’t if they choose to do so.
The law firm, Latham & Watkins LLP, rejected the prosecutor’s claims. “Giannulli and Loughlin are innocent of the charges brought against them and are eager to clear their names,” the court documents state. “And they believe their interests will be advanced most effectively by presenting a united front against the government’s baseless accusations.” Loughlin and Giannulli are facing up to 20 years in prison after initially rejecting a plea deal because they believed prosecutors were bluffing.
Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to appear in court on August 27.