Loughlin, Giannulli plead not guilty to newest charges in admissions scandal

“Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty to new bribery charges in Boston federal court Friday. 

Loughlin and Giannulli are among the 11 parents charged with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery in the college admissions scandal last week after bribing USC employees to admit their children in favored categories and declining to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud before the deadline set by federal prosecutors. 

The bribery charge is the couple’s third superseding indictment based off an FBI investigation released in March that details Newport Beach businessman William “Rick” Singer’s scheme to help wealthy parents pay their children’s way into elite universities such as USC, Stanford and Yale as fake athletic recruits. 

Loughlin and Giannulli paid $500,000 between October 2016 and February 2018 to falsely designate their daughters Isabella and Olivia Jade Giannulli as women’s crew recruits in order to gain them admission to the University. As of last month, neither Isabella Rose nor Olivia Jade was enrolled at USC, the University confirmed in a statement.

According to court documents, the couple bribed former senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel to present a falsified athletic recruitment profile of their older daughter Isabella that included a posed photo of Isabella on an ergometer to an admissions committee in October 2016 to gain her admission to the University. The committee approved Isabella Rose’s recruitment, and she was formally accepted to USC in Spring 2017. 

Loughlin and Giannulli repeated the process with younger daughter Olivia Jade the following year, working with Singer and former USC assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke to fabricate an athletic profile that presented Olivia Jade as a coxswain recruit. Olivia Jade was approved by an admissions committee as a crew recruit in November 2017 before receiving a formal offer of admission from the University in Spring 2018.

In court Friday, the couple’s attorney also waived their right to appear in court for their Nov. 20 arraignment.

Loughlin and Giannulli are two of 16 USC parents named in the Operation Varsity Blues case. To date, Loughlin and Giannulli have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering. They each face up to 20 years in prison.