Lori Loughlin & Mossimo Giannulli Will Reportedly Present A ‘United Front’ In Court, Despite Risks

Lori Loughlin exits the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse after appearing in Federal Court to answer charges stemming from college admissions scandal on April 3, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are reportedly sticking together through better or worse.

The Mercury News reported that the couple will continue to retain representation by Latham & Watkins LLP, despite prosecutors’ arguments that joint representation puts them at risk, as attorneys could face divided loyalties between both defendants as the case goes to trial, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.

“Giannulli and Loughlin are innocent of the charges brought against them and are eager to clear their names,” the documents said.

The papers also said that the couple believed their interests would “be advanced most effectively by presenting a united front against the Government’s baseless accusations.”

Loughlin and Giannulli’s next court date is August 27, and they are expected to waive their right to separate attorneys while also stating that they understand the potential for conflicts of interest their lawyers may face in representing both of them.

This kind of trial is routine, as federal law allows defendants the right to their own attorney, former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told The Mercury News. However, the couple’s choice to stand together practically eliminates the possibility that one spouse will plead guilty and cooperate with the government while the other spouse continues to go to trial. It also removes from the table any benefits of cooperating.

“For the majority of defendants who cooperate, it can result in a significantly reduced sentence,” he said.

Not only that, but Rahmani also said that joint representation meant if the couple is convicted, they are less likely to win an appeal based on inadequate counsel.

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Rahmani said that if Loughlin did choose to have her own attorney, she might be asked to testify against Giannulli in an attempt to “minimize her role in a fraudulent conspiracy,” adding that her testimony “could lead to the assumption by the jury that her husband was more culpable.”

Prosecutors prefer it when co-defendants are represented by separate attorneys because of the possibility that one defendant could testify against the other. Rahmani said that while married co-defendants can’t be forced to testify against a partner, they can if they waive spousal immunity.

In many cases, one spouse chooses to “take the fall” and plead guilty. In exchange for the guilty plea, the other spouse will not face charges.

But that does not appear to be the case with Loughlin or Giannulli. Attorney’s for the couple said they want a “common defense,” adding that they are aware of all risks, even the argument that “the best defense for one client may depend on compromising the defense of the other client.”