Lori Laughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have taken plea deals for their participation in the infamous college admission scandal, now known as Varsity Blues . The actress is set to serve 2 months in prison while her clothing designer husband has been sentenced to 5 months.
The Full House star addressed U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton on Friday, having said she will “use this experience as a catalyst to do good and give back for the rest of (her) life.”
Wiping tears from her eyes, she addressed the judge in her apology- “Your honor I am truly, profoundly and deeply sorry. I am ready to face the consequences and make amends.”
The celebrity couple was sentenced on Friday after both pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. In addition to serving time, Laughlin has been ordered to pay a $150,000 fine. Giannuli was fined $250,000 for his role in the scandal.
Giannuli’s heftier sentencing is said to reflect his more active role in the couple’s scheme to present their daughters as elite crew athletes, successfully securing their admission to University of Southern California.
Southern California, like many Universities that play major sports, grants their athletic departments wide discretion in securing special admission consideration for high performing athletes. The Varsity Blues scandal took advantage of these alternative admissions avenues.
U.S Attorney Justin O’Connell explained that by having their children fake their way through admissions as elite crew athletes, Loughlin and her husband denied two other teens a chance to attend USC. In reality, their two daughters had no substantial connection to the sport.
While neither of the young women have been changed, they are no longer enrolled in the University, which froze all student accounts linked to the scandal.
Judge Gorton expressed confusion in the face of Laughlin’s actions.
“Here you are, an admired, successful, professional actor with a long lasting marriage, two apparently healthy, resilient children, more money than you could possibly need, a beautiful home in sunny Southern California – a fairy tale life,” Gorton said.
“Yet you stand me before a convicted felon. Any for what? For the inexplicable desire to grasp even more.
Despite Loughlin’s previous arguments that she and her husband somehow believed they were making “legitimate donations” to the university, her defense lawyer did not protest his client’s guilt. Instead, he argued that the actress and her daughters have been treated too harshly by the media.
Trach argued that Loughlin’s celebrity has made her more vulnerable, using search engine results to show Loughlin’s name is now synonymous with the admissions scandal.
“I think it’s fair to say that of all the parents charged in this broad investigation, not a single one had less active participation in this scheme than Lori,” Trach said.
Laughlin and her husband are said to have paid $500,000 in order to secure their daughters their spots at USC. The scheme, led by Singer, who used his for-profit college prep and counselling business as a front for the illegal operation.
A number of privileged families, including Desperate Housewife actress Felicity Huffman, were exposed as part of the scandal after Singer agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and began to wear a wire.
Huffman served 11 days of her 14 day sentence in October after pleading guilty to having paid a proctor to correct her daughter’s SAT test, dramatically raising her score. Laughlin and Guilliani have been asked to report to prison on Nov. 19th, both have put in requests for facilities near Los Angeles.
Laura Day is a Reel New York correspondent. Contact her at Laura@reelchicago.com