After actress Felicity Huffman was hit with what was widely criticized as an overly light, 14-day jail sentence after her guilty plea in the college admissions scandal, sometimes called Operation Varsity Blues, her co-defendant Lori Loughlin — star of the hit Netflix series Fuller House — reportedly became alarmed that she would be hit with a much tougher sentence, as a court would try to make an “example” of her, The Inquisitr reported.
According to a prosecutor on the Loughlin case, the actress’s fears were justified, NBC News reported Tuesday. In an interview on a TV station in Boston, where the Huffman and Loughlin proceedings are taking place in federal court, United States Attorney Andrew Lelling said that Loughlin will likely receive a much tougher sentence than Huffman because the crimes prosecutors allege that she committed are much worse.
Huffman was charged with paying a bribe to an SAT test proctor to falsely increase her daughter’s test score. But Loughlin and her husband, multimillionaire fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, stand accused of shelling out $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California. They also allegedly fudged their athletic resumés so they could enter the prestigious university as recruits of the crew team — even though neither ever participated in the sport.
In addition, according to Lelling, Huffman “took responsibility almost immediately. She was contrite. Did not try to minimize her conduct,” he said, as quoted by The Today Show.
Lelling added that Huffman responded to the charges against her in a “classy” way, leading prosecutors to ask for a one-month sentence, ultimately accepting a judge’s sentence of 14 days.
But Loughlin has chosen to fight the charges against her and Giannulli, and the couple are now apparently on track to take the case to trial rather than strike a plea bargain for a lesser sentence. Though friends of the actress say she now “regrets” trying down the opportunity for a plea deal earlier, as The Inquisitr reported, the case appears to have progressed too far for her to win the same kind off leniency shown to Huffman.
“The longer the case goes… I think certainly we would ask for something substantially higher,” Lelling said in the interview, as quoted by The New York Daily News.
But Lelling also refused to speculate on exactly what his office would ask for, in terms of the length of Loughlin’s sentence were she to be convicted at trial.
But Lelling added that Loughlin’s sentence after a conviction would be “substantially higher” than what prosecutors would want if she changes her plea to guilty before a trial.