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Entertainment Tonight, People, and E! all got their own details regarding why on earth Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty in the college admissions cheating scandal. ET’s report was by far the most extensive. The outlet reports that the two’s friends are “incredibly worried” and that somehow, Loughlin still has faith that maybe she and her husband won’t end up behind bars after all.
For background, the two are accused of paying $500,000 to make it appear their daughters Isabella and Olivia Jade were rowing team recruits to guarantee their admission to USC. At maximum, they face a 40-year prison sentence for their charges and were newly charged with money laundering last week. That charge is half of their prospective prison time since it has a 20-year maximum jail sentence.
TMZ reported yesterday that the minimum amount of time Loughlin and her husband could spend behind bars is four years and nine months.
Loughlin was deeply affected and brought to tears by the possibility of being jailed for decades. “When Lori heard the number of years she could spend in prison she broke down crying,” a source told ET. “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.”
People reported from its own source that the couple’s “only choice” was to plead not guilty. “She probably should have taken the [initial plea] deal, but at the time, she didn’t really realize how serious the charges were,” People‘s source said. “Now she’s willing to negotiate, but the prosecution says that the deal is off the table. So the only choice they’ve got is to plead not guilty. That’s all they can do.”
E!, meanwhile, said Loughlin is confident in her defense. “Lori really believes she isn’t guilty and that any parent would have done the same thing that she did if they were in that position,” a source told the outlet. “She plans to fight this and for her girls. She can’t imagine what will happen to them if she goes to jail. She’s rolling the dice and thinks that she has a strong defense.”
Their friends, meanwhile, think pleading not guilty is a horrible idea, according to Entertainment Tonight. “[Their friends] have explained to them that they cannot just plead ignorance,” its source said. “In the end, she trusts those who are advising her and somehow believes there is a chance she will go free.”
Loughlin is hoping a judge will sympathize with them because they really “had no bad intentions” and weren’t aware that paying half a million dollars to make their daughters look like false athletic recruits was illegal. “[Lori and her husband] claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws,” ET’s source said. “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.”
“They in no way felt they were money laundering,” the source continued. “They thought the money would be used for a donation and to benefit the school. Even so, this has been one of the toughest decisions of Lori‘s life.”