Lori Loughlin debated entering a guilty plea in the college admissions case after the 55-year-old actress was hit with additional bribery charges — but her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, changed her mind, a source tells Us Weekly exclusively.
“Lori turned the corner and backed out of considering a guilty plea due to her husband’s insistence,” the source tells Us. “She had been talking to her lawyers about it, but her friends and family were encouraging her to pursue a plea deal. She’s only listening to Mossimo though.”
Us confirmed on Friday, November 1, that Loughlin and Giannulli, 56, pleaded not guilty to the bribery charges, which were filed six months after the couple pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges.
“Defendant and her counsel affirm that Mrs. Loughlin has received a copy of the Third Superseding Indictment and that Ms. Loughlin pleads not guilty to each of the counts against her,” the court documents obtained by Us on Friday read. “Therefore, Ms. Loughlin respectfully requests that the Court to accept this waiver and enter Ms. Loughlin’s plea of not guilty.”
Loughlin and Giannulli, who share Bella, 21, and Olivia Jade, 20, were accused of paying $500,000 to facilitate their daughters’ admission to the University of Southern California as members of the crew team even though they do not play the sport. (Bella, an inspiring actress, and Olivia Jade, a beauty YouTuber, are no longer enrolled at USC.)
An insider previously told Us that the former Hallmark star is “absolutely terrified and extremely vulnerable” as the case continues to make headlines.
“The only hope is that she is acquitted or if she is convicted, the judge will realize the government has been completely overzealous and gives her a very light prison sentence,” the insider told Us on October 23. “The prosecution added the additional charge because the government realized their case was weak. The charge could have been filed with the others back in the spring.”
Back in September, a third source told Us that Loughlin’s friends were “concerned” about the Full House alum after Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison for her role in the scandal. (The former Desperate Housewives star, who paid $15,000 to improve her 19-year-old daughter Sophia’s SAT scores, completed her sentence last month.)
“They say she should have followed Huffman’s lead and taken a plea deal and accepted responsibility,” the third source said.
A fourth source added at the time that Loughlin was “inclined” to take a plea deal, but Giannulli insisted “it would ruin both of their careers.”
Reporting by Brody Brown