(AP) — “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have agreed to serve prison time as part of a deal to plead guilty to scamming the college admissions process, according to court papers filed Thursday.
Loughlin, 55, has agreed to serve two months behind bars and Giannulli, 56, has agreed to serve five months under the deal that must be approved by the judge in the case. They are scheduled to plead guilty Friday via video conference.
It’s a stunning reversal for the famous couple who had insisted for the past year they were innocent and that investigators had fabricated evidence against them. Their decision comes about two weeks after the judge rejected their bid to dismiss the case over allegations of misconduct by federal authorities.
“I think they made a calculated assessment that the risks were just too great” to bring the case to trial, said former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon.
They were set to go to trial in October on charges that they paid $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, even though neither of them played the sport. They helped create fake athletic profiles for their daughters by sending the admitted ringleader of the scheme, admissions consultant Rick Singer, photos of the teens posing on rowing machines, authorities said.
Under Loughlin’s plea deal, she will pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. Giannulli has agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has already delayed the prison sentences of some parents who have pleaded guilty in the college admissions case and allowed others to go home early. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been ordered to increase the use of home confinement and to expedite the release of inmates at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
Loughlin and Giannulli were among 50 people arrested last year in the case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” that rocked the world of higher education. They are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty.