After reports surfaced that Lori Loughlin regrets not accepting the same plea deal as actress Felicity Huffman for her alleged role in the college admissions scandal, the former “Full House” star’s prosecutor has stated that they will be seeking a “higher sentence” in her case.
Speaking with WCVB in Boston, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said that Loughlin could be in for some trouble, though he didn’t know exactly how much.
“We will probably ask for a higher sentence for [Loughlin] than we did for Felicity Huffman,” Lelling said, as reported by Fox News. “I can’t tell you what that would be.”
This past April, Loughlin and her husband waived their right to appear in court for an arraignment and simply pled not guilty against charges of mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy in the college bribery scam. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston charged them with “conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme to use bribery to cheat on college entrance exams and to facilitate their children’s admission to selective colleges and universities as purported athletic recruits.”
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly worked in concert with William “Rick” Singer to bribe college officials and rig the entrance exams so that their children could be accepted into elite universities. If convicted, the pair could face up to 40 years in prison.
Actress Felicity Huffman immediately admitted her guilt and apologized, resulting in just a 14-day jail sentence. Lelling said that may have been due to the fact that she was the “least culpable” of the defendants, believing that two weeks in jail was appropriate compared to the one month that prosecutors initially asked for.
“It just happened to be that Ms. Huffman was probably the least culpable of the defendants who we’ve charged in that case,” he said. “She took responsibility almost immediately, she was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a very classy way. At the end of the day, we thought the one month was proportional. I think the two weeks that she actually got was also reasonable. We were happy with that. I think it was a thoughtful sentence.”
Following Huffman’s sentence, a source close to Loughlin and her husband said she regrets not taking the initial plea deal.
“Lori is aware of Felicity’s sentence and is processing what that means for her,” the source said. “Her only move now is to take this to court and to prove that she is not guilty of what she’s charged with.”
“This has been a rough day,” the source continued. “Lori is going to move forward as best as she can, but now she has a little more clarity about what will happen next.”
The source also said that even though Loughlin now regrets not taking the plea deal, she still believes that she did nothing illegal in the first place.
“If she’s found guilty, she will go to jail; that is clear. And if another deal is offered to her, which I don’t think it will be, she will go to jail,” the source said. “Her only chance of avoiding jail is to beat these charges. Lori is a smart woman; she understands that. She’s scared and upset, but she’s resolved to be strong and to fight this. She will do what she has to do to protect herself and her family.”
“She didn’t understand the entire nature of the charges against her, and she wasn’t even sure if or how she had broken the law. It was very early, and she didn’t have all the information that she has now,” the source continued. “Based on what she understood at the time, she made the best choice for herself. Now there is no deal on the table, and she has to have faith that the courts and the prosecution will move fairly and not make an example out of her.”