With the college admissions scandal rolling on, Lori Loughlin is gearing up for her next court date on Wednesday. Well, technically, only her lawyers are going to court — Loughlin waived her right to appear in-person and she’s not expected to be in the courtroom on Wednesday. This move didn’t come as much of a surprise following the media onslaught surrounding the ongoing college admissions sentencing. For Loughlin in particular, an April courthouse appearance raised eyebrows after fans lined the courthouse asking for “Aunt Becky’s” autograph.
Although the college admissions scandal involves 16 other parents, Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the most high-profile celebrities attached to this case. Still, it’s not worth comparing their two cases — Huffman pleaded guilty to charges of fraud after she spent £11,615 ($15,000) to change her daughter’s SAT scores. The actress spent a total of 11 days out of a two-week sentence in prison and appears to be on the other side of this scandal as she finishes off her community service.
But, judges involved in the formally-dubbed Operation Varsity Blues scandal are proving tough on privilege. Last Wednesday, a former real estate executive was sentenced to six months in prison for his role in the college admissions scandal — the longest sentence handed down in the case to date. And, to rub salt in his wound, prosecutors were actually gunning for further reprimand as he was only slapped with 200 hours of community service after paying out £348,459 ($450,000) in bribes.
Now, as fans and media mongers alike await the most high profile sentencing of Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Massimo Giannulli, we’ve mapped out everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday’s court date.
What charges is Lori Loughlin facing?
Loughlin and Giannulli are facing charges for three different crimes: conspiracy fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery.
At the heart of the charges, Loughlin is accused of using her wealth to bribe a crew team coach, set up for her by the scandal's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer, in order to bolster her two daughters’ chances of admission at the University of Southern California. Loughlin is accused of paying £387,177 ($500,000) to have her two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli, fraudulently listed as recruits for the crew team, even though they do not play the sport.
How long could Lori Loughlin go to prison for?
According to CNN, Loughlin and Giannulli each face up to 45 years in prison. But, that’s the absolute worst case scenario. Loughlin was given opportunities to lighten her sentence, but has continuously rejected them. In April, the former Full House actress was offered a plea deal that came with a much lighter two-year sentence, but she reportedly believed that prosecutors were bluffing and rejected the deal. She is now taking her chances in court instead, with decades of prison time on the line.
What is Lori Loughlin's plea?
Loughlin and her husband have both previously pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering. During Wednesday’s trial, Loughlin will officially enter her plea for the latest bribery charge, but if we can guess from this trajectory, she is expected to plead not guilty.
When and where is the trial happening?
The latest court date is taking place at a federal court in Boston (where the scandal first broke open) on Wednesday 20th November.
The scandal was uncovered when a Boston businessman under investigation for securities fraud offered investigators some information in exchange for leniency, opening a pandora’s box when he told investigators that a soccer coach at Yale was soliciting bribes in exchange for college admission. Now, Loughlin will be arraigned for the latest bribery charges brought forth by the Department of Justice on 22nd October. Since then, Loughlin and her husband have waived their right to appear in-person and are not expected to be in court Wednesday but will be represented by their lawyers. Following this trial, her next court date will be 17th January 2020.