Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli Felt Going to Trial Would Be ‘Reckless’

Fear factor. Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli’s decision to alter their pleas in the college admissions scandal did not come easy — after all, they made the move more than a year after being arrested — but ultimately, they realized the case against them was too strong.

“Lori and Mossimo felt going to trial would just be reckless,” a source tells Us Weekly exclusively, noting that the couple also worried about the potential of their daughters, Bella, 21, and Olivia Jade, 20, having to testify. “It was going to get ugly.”

A source close to the Full House alum, meanwhile, explains that the pair “were tired of being in limbo” and “couldn’t move on with their lives” until they pleaded guilty.

The U.S. Attorney’s office announced on Thursday, May 21, that Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, had accepted a plea deal and would admit their guilt on fraud charges. They officially entered their pleas during a virtual court appearance on Friday, May 22, although the judge won’t accept them until he sees pre-sentencing reports from the Massachusetts Probation Service. Their sentencing is scheduled for August 21.

“In the end, they had the choice of 50 years or a few months behind bars,” the Loughlin source tells Us. “You do the math.”

As part of a plea deal, the actress agreed to serve two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine and serve 100 hours of community service. The Mossimo founder, meanwhile, is expected to spend five months behind bars, pay $250,000 and serve 250 hours of community service. They both also agreed to serve two years of supervised release.

“It’s not only her life. The kids’ lives were also being affected,” the Loughlin source adds, explaining that Bella and Olivia Jade are thrilled to have “the cloud of negative press around them gone so they can finally move on.”

Loughlin and Giannulli were indicted in March 2019 for paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits despite the girls having no experience with the sport.

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Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's Family Album With Bella, Olivia Jade

Lori Loughlin, her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and their daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade, have weathered a difficult period amid the couple’s alleged involvement in the college admissions scandal, but the family has also celebrated good times together.

The Full House alum first met Giannulli in 1995 and two years later the duo eloped on Thanksgiving on November 27, 1997. Loughlin told Entertainment Tonight in February 2018 that their marriage is successful because they maintain open lines of communication.

“He’s my guy, he’s my person,” the When Calls the Heart star said at the time. “It’s communicating, it’s listening, it’s picking and choosing your battles. It’s being flexible, it’s all of that.”

Loughlin and the Mossimo founder welcomed their first child together, Bella, on September 16, 1998. One year later, Loughlin gave birth to their second daughter, Olivia Jade, on September 28, 1999. Olivia Jade later became a social media influencer with her YouTube channel, gaining more than 1 million subscribers for her videos, where she shares beauty and fashion tips.

Bella and Olivia Jade went on to attend the University of Southern California. Loughlin and Giannulli were arrested in March 2019 for allegedly falsifying their daughters’ participation on USC’s crew team in a bribe to get accepted into the school. One month later, the couple pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges. Us Weekly confirmed in October 2019 that Bella and Olivia Jade are no longer enrolled at USC.

The Fuller House alum told Us in 2016 that she has a special relationship with both of her daughters.

“I would say that I am loving but that I am firm,” Loughlin said at the time. “I would say that … I am available, and they have access to me. I am involved, but I am not hovering. I’m there to guide. I think I’m funny, but they don’t. But I still make that joke. They kind of roll their eyes at me, but I am funny. I’m funny! And they’re like, ‘No, you’re not.’ But anyways, we have fun. We have a good time together.”

Scroll down to see photos of the Giannulli family throughout the years.

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Loughlin, Giannulli: College bribery charges must be tossed

Resume of Lori Loughlin’s daughter released showing false rowing credentials

A resume which appears to belong to Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade contains falsified rowing credentials. FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo with more.

BOSTON — “Full House” Actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and other prominent parents urged a judge Wednesday to dismiss charges against them in the college admissions bribery case, accusing prosecutors of “extraordinary” misconduct.

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Defense attorneys for the famous couple and other parents still fighting the charges say the case cannot stand because investigators bullied their informant into lying and then concealed evidence that would bolster the parents' claims of innocence.

In this April 3, 2019, photo, Lori Loughlin, left, arrives at federal court in Boston with her attorney Sean Berkowitz to face charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“The extraordinary government misconduct presented in this case threatens grave harm to defendants and the integrity of this proceeding. That misconduct cannot be ignored,” the lawyers wrote.

The U.S. attorney's office in Boston declined Wednesday to comment.

Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to go on trial in October on charges that they paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither girl was a rower. Prosecutors say they snapped photos of the girls sitting on rowing machines to help make fake athletic profiles that portrayed them as star athletes.

Six other wealthy parents accused of participating in the scheme will stand trial alongside them. Another six parents are scheduled to face trial in January.

Lori Loughlin and her two daughters in this undated photo. (Associated Press)

The defense says prosecutors withheld evidence that would support the parents' argument that they believed the payments were legitimate donations that would benefit the schools, rather than bribes for coaches or officials. The evidence — notes from the phone of the scheme's admitted mastermind, admissions consultant Rick Singer — was not given to the defense until last month.

PROSECUTORS IN LORI LOUGHLIN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS CASE REDACTED EXCULPATORY INFORMATION: JUDGE

Singer wrote in the notes that FBI agents yelled at him and told him to lie to get parents to say things in recorded phone calls that could be used against them. Singer wrote that FBI agents told him to say that he told parents the payments were bribes.

William Rick Singer, left, walks into the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on March 12, 2019. (Getty Images) 
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“They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment,” Singer wrote, according to the filing.

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The defense says the notes show that agents bullied Singer into fabricating evidence and try to trick parents into falsely agreeing that the payments were bribes.

“For government agents to coerce an informant into lying on recorded calls to generate false inculpatory evidence against investigative targets—and to then knowingly prosecute those targets using that false evidence—is governmental malfeasance of the worst kind,” the lawyers wrote.

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Instead of immediately handing over the notes when they first saw them in Oct. 2018, prosecutors “buried" the evidence and repeatedly told the defense it had provided everything it was supposed to, the parents' lawyers wrote.

LOUGHLIN, GIANNULLI COLLEGE ADMISSIONS TRIAL OFFICIALLY SET FOR OCTOBER

The defense also accused investigators of allowing Singer to delete thousands of text messages from his cellphone and then mounting an “aggressive (and highly successful) pressure campaign” to get parents to plead guilty.

“While withholding the notes and many other examples of material exculpatory information, the government attempted to coerce defendants into pleading guilty by threatening that if they did not, they would face additional charges,” the parents' lawyers wrote.

Singer’s notes weren’t given to the defense until February because the government believed they were privileged and didn’t review them further after discovering them, prosecutors have said. Prosecutors say it doesn't matter whether Singer called the payments bribes or donations, because it was still an illegal quid pro quo.

Lori Loughlin, front, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, left, depart federal court in Boston. in April 2019. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

LORI LOUGHLIN, GIANNULLI ATTORNEY LED ENRON PROSECUTION TEAM

The defense said if the judge doesn't dismiss the case, he should at least prevent prosecutors from using the “tainted recordings” at trial and order a hearing to “uncover the full truth about the recordings and the government's efforts to fabricate and conceal evidence.”

Nearly two dozen other parents have pleaded guilty in the case, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.

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