Here’s Why Lori Loughlin Really Believes She Is Not Guilty In The College Admissions Scam

Paul Marotta Getty Images

Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli may have backed themselves into a corner by not accepting a plea deal for the charges against them in the college admissions scandal, but their decision to plead “not guilty” to all charges was not as surprising as some may think.

An insider close to the former Fuller House star told Entertainment Tonight that Loughlin and her designer husband did not know they were breaking laws when they paid middleman big bucks to get their daughters, Isabella and Olivia Jade, into the University of Southern California.

The source told ET that Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly feel they were “manipulated” by Rick Singer, the self-professed ringleader of the college admissions scam. Loughlin, 54, reportedly knew that she and Giannulli were breaking rules when they paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as fake crew team recruits, but feels that they were grossly misled regarding the legal ramifications of the situation.

“[Lori and her husband] claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws. They feel they were manipulated by those involved and are planning that as part of their defense. They realize how serious the charges are, but feel that once the judge hears their story he will see they had no bad intentions.”

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli each entered a plea of “not guilty” to multiple charges in the Operation Varsity Blues cheating scandal, including charges that they conspired to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering. The insider said the wealthy couple believed the half million dollars they gave Singer’s phony foundation would go to benefit the university in some way.

“They in no way felt they were money laundering. They thought the money would be used for a donation and to benefit the school.”

If convicted of all of the charges against them, Lori Loughlin and her husband could face up to 40 years in jail.

The fallen When Calls the Heart star put on a brave front by smiling for fans and signing autographs ahead of a court appearance in Boston earlier this month, but the thought of jail time reportedly has Lori Loughlin in tears behind the scenes. Still, the insider says Loughlin took the risk of a trial because she and her husband truly feel they are not guilty of the serious charges against them in the federal case. Loughlin has reportedly put all of her trust in her legal team and believes there is a chance she will not go to jail at all.

“When Lori heard the number of years she could spend in prison she broke down crying. The thought of being separated from her loved ones for years brought her to her knees. She has watched as the other families cut deals but her husband feels they are not guilty and should plead not guilty.”

While Lori Loughlin stands behind her “not guilty” plea, the reality of her dire situation only recently hit her. It wasn’t until she received the additional money laundering charge—which came after she rejected the plea deal—that Loughlin allegedly realized how serious the situation is.

Unlike Lori Loughlin, fellow Hollywood star Felicity Huffman accepted the plea deal for the charges against her. Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 to have her daughter Sophia’s SAT scores raised. The Desperate Housewives star released a statement in which she apologized and took full responsibility for her actions. Felicity Huffman could face a minimum of four months in jail as well as a fine and probation, People reports.