Actress Lori Loughlin’s legal team is reportedly working to build a case on the claim that the actress and her designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were not aware that they had done anything wrong. Federal litigator Louis Shapiro told The Los Angeles Times that the couple’s attorneys would likely take their time when putting together a case.
“Her attorneys have made it clear that they are not going to be rushing into any deal with the prosecution,” Shapiro said.
“They want to perform a thorough analysis of the evidence and then help their client make an informed decision about what is in her best interest to do,” he added.
Loughlin and Giannulli stand accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California. The payment assured the couple that their daughters would be admitted as crew recruits — even though neither is a rower — according to court documents.
A source close to the case told The Los Angeles Times that Loughlin and Giannulli feel that they were honestly duped by William Singer, the man behind the scheme, and had no idea they were engaging in a crime.
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly agreed to use Singer’s so-called “side door” into USC, a pathway which reportedly consisted of paying college senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel to select their oldest daughter, Isabella, as a member of the crew team.
Lori Loughlin Reportedly Didn’t Know Bribery Was a Crime. A Criminal Attorney Explains Whether That Will That Hold Up In Court https://t.co/RLvrboWjQP
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) May 4, 2019
After Isabella was successfully admitted to the college, they paid to have their youngest daughter, Olivia, admitted in the same way. The couple reportedly sent Singer a photo of Olivia on a row machine after he reportedly asked them for an action shot.
Singer used his charity — the Key Worldwide Foundation, which was supposed to help underprivileged students — as a means to pay off coaches. Because it was made to look like parents were donating to a charity, they could write the bribes off on their taxes, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The outlet reported that Loughlin’s legal team includes Sean Berkowitz, a nationally-recognized trial lawyer.
Shapiro said that Berkowitz would probably “try to find evidence that shows that Loughlin was not aware of the underlying conspiracy and extent of the alleged fraud being perpetrated by Singer.”
The litigator also said that Loughlin’s legal team would attempt to remove the couple’s recorded discussion with Singer, adding that Loughlin might have known about the scheme “close in time to the recorded calls and was not aware of it at the time of the commission of the alleged offense.”