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Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli plead guilty in college admissions scandal

Loughlin and Giannulli to plead guilty

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty on Friday to paying more than $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California. A judge will sentence the couple in August.

"Guilty," both Loughlin and Giannulli said when asked by the court clerk how they want to plea, CBS Boston reported. They appeared in separate Zoom windows for the hearing, each accompanied by a lawyer. The couple reached a plea deal with the United States Attorney for Massachusetts Thursday and agreed to serve prison time. 

The "Full House" star pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. The couple was accused of paying consultant Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing recruits.

"No one has forced me to plead guilty, your honor," Loughlin said when asked by the judge if she was changing her plea by choice.

Loughlin will serve two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine and have two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service. Giannulli will spend five months in prison, pay a $250,000 fine and have two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service. 

For 14 months, Loughlin and Giannulli had maintained their innocence, saying the $500,000 they paid was for legitimate donations. CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said Thursday that it may not be a coincidence that they took a plea deal amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

"The chances of a white collar defendant, who is never going to reoffend, going to prison in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, well those chances are very, very low," Klieman said.

Dozens of others have already pleaded guilty, with some, including actress Felicity Huffman, having already served their sentences. 

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