By: KATE HODGSON, AARON KATERSKY, and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News
(BOSTON) — Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, appeared via video conference before a federal judge in Boston today to plead guilty to conspiracy charges that stem from the so-called Varsity Blues college admissions cheating scheme.
Loughlin, in a black high-collar long-sleeve shirt, appeared on screen with her attorney from what appeared to be a living room with an armoire in the background. Giannulli, in a black jacket and tie and white shirt, appeared with his attorney on a separate screen.
“Guilty,” Loughlin answered, when the court clerk asked how she pleaded.
Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen noted Loughlin faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The government agreed she should serve two months and her husband five months. The judge did not make an immediate decision whether to accept or reject the terms of the plea deal.
Judge Nathaniel Gorton scheduled a sentencing hearing Friday, August 21 at 11 a.m. ET for Giannulli, 2:30 p.m. ET for Loughlin.
Loughlin and Giannulli paid scheme mastermind Rick Singer $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing crew recruits. Neither girl had ever rowed competitively. They both initially pleaded not guilty to related fraud charges, claiming in part that their payments were charitable.
Had the case gone to trial, Rosen said prosecutors would have used recorded telephone calls, documents, emails and witness testimony to prove the couple’s guilt. “They conspired with Rick Singer and others to commit wire fraud,” Rosen said.
Giannulli emailed Singer a doctored photo of daughter Olivia Jade on a rowing machine to cast her as an experienced coxswain and made purported charitable payments “To facilitate his daughter’s fraudulent admission to USC,” Rosen said, also noting that in 2017, the couple repeated the scam to falsely present their other daughter as an experienced coxswain.
Asked whether she disagreed with anything Rosen said the government would be able to prove, Loughlin answered, “No, your honor.”
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