On November 20, Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossini Giannulli will be arraigned on new bribery charges stemming from the college admission scandals case. With the new charges, Loughlin and her husband face a maximum of 50 years in jail. Lori Loughlin, her husband, Felicity Huffman and approximately 50 other wealthy parents were charged with crimes relating to payments made to obtain admission to various colleges for their children. The college admissions scheme scandal case is the largest in U.S. history.
Loughlin and her husband are alleged to have paid $500,000 to Rick Singer and bribed University of Southern California officials to obtain admission for their two daughters to USC. They went to elaborate lengths to pass them off as athletic crew members—posing in front of rowing machines, despite having no athletic abilities
Felicity Huffman accepted responsibility for her wrongdoing and was sentenced to 14 days in jail for paying $15,000 to obtain college admission for one of her daughters. Loughlin preferred to enter a plea of not guilty. The stakes are now higher for Loughlin.
Every defendant is presumed innocent until a guilty plea is entered or a conviction by a judge or jury. Before a plea of guilty or a trial, a defendant must assess their risk at trial and the evidence against them. In Huffman’s case, she apparently decided upon advice of counsel that it was better to plead guilty early in the process.
Loughlin decided to continue down the path of trial. Most prosecutors and defense attorneys know the early bird gets the worm. What that means in criminal justice world is it’s better to come clean early rather than later. A prosecutor will spend time preparing for the trial. And whether it’s good or bad, the longer the prosecution train heads down the track, the longer the proposed plea sentence for the defendant. In other words, the longer it takes Loughlin and her husband to take a deal, the more time they will likely face. They would have likely faced more time than Huffman due to the amount of money and effort involved in their alleged elaborate scheme.
Lori Loughlin is not the usual criminal defendant with meager means. Justice somehow looks lightly on those individuals who are rich and celebrities. She may still soon hold the title of convicted felon with a prison sentence. The longer she waits to dance to the music and face the facts, the longer jail time she will receive for her alleged crime. Felicity Huffman failed to give Loughlin the memo which reads plead early—get out of jail quicker. Or Loughlin failed to read it and adhere to the advice of her attorney. According to sources, Lori Loughlin now regrets her decision. Time will tell if her decision was a good one.
Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer and former Baltimore prosecutor.