HomeCelebritiesLori Loughlin’s college admissions scandal trial date set for October
Lori Loughlin’s college admissions scandal trial date set for October
Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli will go on trial for their alleged roles the college admissions scandal on Oct. 5, a federal judge in Boston ruled Thursday.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Sept. 28, and the trial is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving, said US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton.
The celebrity couple could face up to 45 years in prison, if found guilty.
They are among a group of 15 well-heeled parents fighting charges that they conspired with admitted crooked college consultant William “Rick” Singer to secure spots for their children’s places at top universities.
Prosecutors say Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, shelled out $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing recruits, even though they’d never participated the sport.
They have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to fraudulently transfer funds and conspiracy to commit bribery.
The “Fuller House” star and her husband will be tried along six other defendants, including Miami venture capitalist Robert Zangrillo and Gamal Abdelaziz, a former senior executive at Wynn Resorts
Another group of parents will go on trial Jan. 11.
In total, 53 people have been accused of being wrapped up in the scheme, excluding Singer, who pleaded guilty last March and has been cooperating with authorities.
Former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was among those caught up in the scandal. She pleaded guilty to paying a $15,000 bribe to Singer to rig daughter Sophia Grace’s SAT scores and served 11 days behind bars in September.
Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli had asked for the trial to be delayed over “devastating” new evidence they claimed had been wrongly withheld by prosecutors until now.
The evidence — text messages Singer sent to his attorney — supports the couple’s argument that they believed the money they paid to Singer’s sham charity were true donations to the school, and not bribes.
“It is exonerating information,” the couple’s attorney, William Trach, said in court.
Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen disputed that, saying that calling the payments a donation doesn’t mean they weren’t a “quid pro quo.”
He also disputed that the evidence was withheld, arguing Singer’s lawyer claimed until recently that the messages were covered by attorney-client privilege.
Judge Gorton said the defense’s claims were “very serious” but that he would take them up at a later date.