What's Next for Lori Loughlin?
After pleading guilty, a source says that she and her husband "deeply regret what they did."
14 months after the college admissions scandal made headlines and exposed the extreme lengths and huge dollar amounts being tossed around universities, Lori Loughlin is reportedly set to plead guilty to one of the charges against her. If her plea agreement — and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli's — are approved by a judge, she would likely face jail time and a hefty fine.
What exactly is Loughlin pleading guilty to?
According to NBC News, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts announced that Loughlin would plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. CNN reports that she has two additional charges: conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Giannulli is set to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.
A week later, source told People that Loughlin "deeply regret what they did." The source added, "This experience has taken a huge emotional and physical toll on both of them."
Is everything finalized?
No. Before anything is official, a federal judge has to agree to the plea and sign off. There is a chance that her plea could be rejected.
Will Loughlin go to jail?
NBC News notes that Loughlin could spend up to two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine, be subject to two years of supervised release, and serve 100 hours of community service. Giannulli's charges come with heftier jail time and harsher punishments: up to five months in prison, a $250,000 fine, the same two years of supervised release, and 250 hours of community service. The sentences reflect what prosecutors see as their different roles in the scheme.
"Mossimo took the more active role of the two, and the money technically came from him," a legal expert told People. "Mossimo dealt with Rick Singer more frequently, and was the one who originally connected with him. Lori was a bit more passive, but she was aware of everything that Mossimo was doing."
Why did they wait so long to plead guilty?
People's expert explained that this was the last chance for the couple to enter a plea before the case went to court. If the two were found guilty after the case went to trial, they could have faced longer jail times.
"This was a now or never deal. It was presented as the last clear chance for them to plead before going to trial, and they knew that if they were found guilty, they were realistically looking at more than a year behind bars, probably more like three or four," the expert added.
The magazine adds that Loughlin and Giannulli will formally plead guilty before a judge on Friday. They are officially the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the college admissions case, which included Felicity Huffman. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison and served 11 at a federal facility in Northern California. She pleaded guilty in May after being charged with paying a bribe of $15,000.
Could they have faced harsher sentences?
According to the Department of Justice, individuals charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud could see up to 20 years in prison.
"Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case," U.S. attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement. "We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions."