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Lori Loughlin, husband Mossimo Giannulli plead not guilty in college admissions scam

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Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli pleading not guilty to bribery charges in the college admissions scandal.
USA TODAY

Lori Loughlin plans to fight the charges against her in the college admissions bribery case.

Monday, the “Full House” actress and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, filed federal court documents saying they waive their right to appear in court for an arraignment and plead not guilty. (Their arraignment dates had not been set.)

“Ms. Loughlin and her counsel affirm that Ms. Loughlin has received a copy of the (indictment) and that Ms. Loughlin pleads NOT GUILTY to each of the charges against her,” the two-paragraph document reads. “Accordingly, Ms. Loughlin respectfully requests that the court accept this waiver and enter Ms. Loughlin’s plea of NOT GUILTY.” Giannulli’s document says the same.

Last week, Loughlin, Giannulli and other parents charged in the cheating scheme were indicted on an additional felony count of money laundering, on top of the mail fraud and honest services fraud counts they were charged with last month by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

Several other of the indicted parents entered not guilty pleas, indicating they plan to challenge the government’s case against them at trial.



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They resisted prosecutors’ pressure on them to agree to plea negotiations. 

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to coaches so their non-athlete daughters could be designated as crew recruits, easing their admission to the University of Southern California-Los Angeles.

The couple has not commented publicly on the charges.

Their decision to plead not guilty is in contrast to that of actress Felicity Huffman and a dozen other parents who agreed to plead guilty last week, avoiding the additional charge of money laundering and the possibility of conviction at a trial. 

Huffman issued a statement of contrition after her agreement to plead guilty, saying she was “ashamed” of her actions and apologizing to her daughter and to other students and their parents who might have been denied a spot at USC. 

‘I am ashamed’:  Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college admissions cheating scam

Huffman and the other parents who pleaded guilty have not had their sentencing hearings, but prosecutors indicated in proposed plea agreements they plan to demand at least some prison time for them.

Huffman was accused of paying $15,000 to a fake charity as a means to arrange for a test monitor to correct her elder daughter’s SAT college entrance exam to inflate her score. 

Loughlin, Giannulli and other parents made their first court appearances in the case, along with Huffman, in Boston on April 3, to something of a circus atmosphere outside the federal courthouse. Supporters and detractors chanted her name or mockingly asked her to pay their college tuition.

The documents filed Monday allow them to avoid another public appearance like that. 

What’s next? Under the usual process, preliminary hearings will be scheduled in federal court in Boston to discuss discovery and pretrial motions, says Adam Citron, a former prosecutor who is a defense attorney in New York.

“A trial is still a very long way off, and there is still the possibility that Loughlin and her husband will plead (guilty) prior to hearings,” Citron says. 

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