Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli just pleaded not guilty to the college admissions scam charges, which is a lot less shocking when you consider that Lori is reportedly struggling to understand that her alleged actions broke the law in the first place.
A source told People that Lori has been mentally processing the charges against her for the past month.
“It’s just taking some time for it to sink in that what she was allegedly doing could be considered illegal,” the source said.
Lori and her husband are accused of paying $500,000 to a college adviser to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California. The girls posed as recruits to the school’s crew team. Lori and Mossimo now face mail fraud and money laundering charges.
The couple had been offered a plea deal, but it would have involved jail time, so they chose to reject it. They now face up to 40 years in prison.
Felicity Huffman, the other celebrity mom involved in the scam, opted to plead guilty to her charges. She issued a lengthy admission of guilt.
The largest-ever college admissions fraud prosecution is still ongoing, and the popcorn-worthy drama just does not end.
Lori Loughlin, one of the highest-profile parents indicted in the case, is reportedly struggling to understand the weight of her alleged actions.
“It’s just taking some time for it to sink in that what she was allegedly doing could be considered illegal,” a source told People. “To her, it wasn’t egregious behavior.”
“Was it entitled and perhaps selfish? Perhaps. But she didn’t see it as being a legal violation,” the source added.
Lori and her husband are being charged with mail fraud as well as money laundering. They’re facing more than just legal consequences, too — Lori was dropped by Hallmark after many years of starring in TV shows and movies for the network.
Lori and Mossimo were offered a plea deal, which would have involved some jail time. But Lori was reluctant to take the deal, in part because she doesn’t think she’s done anything that wrong.
“From the beginning, she didn’t want to take a deal, because she felt that she hadn’t done anything that any mom wouldn’t have done, if they had the means to do so,” the source said.
“So this wasn’t her being obstinate; this was her truly not understanding the seriousness of the allegations.”
While the couple weighed their options, new charges were brought against them.
It’s unclear if a new plea deal was offered after the additional charges, but the couple ended up deciding to plead not guilty to both charges. They now face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Lori’s situation is finally beginning to sink in for real, and she’s figuring out how to move forward.
“She’s trying to decide what is the best move for her. She has no desire to prolong this for anyone, but she still believes that she deserves a fair outcome,” the source explained.
Meanwhile, dozens of other indicted parents are taking various approaches to the same charges. Some parents, like Lori, are choosing to fight the allegations.
And others are choosing to plead guilty and accept their sentences.
Felicity Huffman, who was charged with paying $15,000 to raise her daughter’s score on the SAT exam through cheating, took the complete opposite approach to Lori. She pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She also issued an apologetic statement, fully owning up to her guilt.
“I am ashamed,” Felicity said in the statement.
She apologized to her family, friends, and colleagues, and especially to “the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”
Felicity added that her daughter was unaware of the cheating. A proctor corrected her test answers after she’d finished taking the SAT.
“This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life,” Felicity said in her statement. “My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”
Felicity has yet to be sentenced; her charge comes with a max sentence of 20 years, although prosecutors will likely recommend much less jail time than that.
This is just one of many ways in which Felicity’s case is very different from Lori’s. Not only did Lori reportedly pay significantly more money to get her daughters into USC, but her daughters also allegedly knew about the fraud and willingly participated in it.
If Lori still doesn’t understand why her alleged actions were wrong and illegal, perhaps she and Felicity should have a chat?!