In recent weeks, things certainly haven’t been looking good for actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. The pair have become the faces of the ongoing college admissions scandal, known to law enforcement as “Operation Varsity Blues.” They have been accused of agreeing to pay thousands of dollars to secure their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, a spot at the University of Southern California.
They also allegedly presented their daughters as rowing crew recruits, despite the fact that neither girl was a rower. Both Loughlin and her husband have maintained their innocence throughout this whole saga, even as the evidence seems to continue to mount against them, according to Fox News.
Last month, Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering. If they are convicted, they could be facing decades behind bars. However, there has been a new shift in this saga in the past week that may help out Loughlin and Giannulli’s case. It involves a Chinese family who have been caught up in the college admissions case themselves.
The student in question is Yusi Zhao, who was admitted to Stanford in 2017. Her parents, who reside in Beijing, allegedly handed over $6.5 million in bribery funds to secure her the spot. Rick Singer was allegedly the recipient of this payment. Singer is the alleged mastermind of the entire scandal, and has since pleaded guilty to his part in the controversy. Singer attempted to help get Zhao admitted to the prestigious university by presenting her as a recruit for the sailing team. Just as he reportedly did for Olivia Jade, Isabella, and many other celebrity children, he completed a fake athletic profile for the student.
If it is determined that the Zhao family was tricked into donating the funds without truly understanding what it would be used for, it could help Loughlin’s case. Loughlin and her husband have claimed that they too were mislead by Singer. Nevertheless, defense attorney Lara Yeretsian emphasized that it would still be in Loughlin’s best interest to fold now, according to Fox News.
“They are both looking at additional time that could potentially go as high as an additional 2-3 years. We were all expecting that the prosecution had additional charges in their bag of tricks. This prosecution team is playing it rough, mounting pressure on the parents to push them to fold. If Loughlin and her husband cooperate and the [information] they have to have to offer [the prosecution] is something of interest and it’s useful, then the prosecutors could recommend probation, no jail time, or electronic monitoring.”