Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli are continuing to fight the criminal cases against them related to a massive college admissions scandal. While fellow actress Felicity Huffman and others have already pleaded guilty, Loughlin and Ginanulli have refused to do so. Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams explained Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America why they might be taking that approach, and why they just might have a defense.
“You can’t say ‘I didn’t know the details of the wire fraud law,’ and therefore that’s the defense,” Abrams acknowledged, “but you can say … ‘I didn’t know, I didn’t intend to do it, I wasn’t intending to misrepresent or to defraud, etc.'” He pointed out that intent is significant, and prosecutors are going to have to prove that.
“Prosecutors will have to show that, in essence, they knew what they were doing, and they were doing it on purpose,” he said.
Abrams also noted that Loughlin and Giannulli aren’t necessarily going to have the same defenses.
“She may say ‘I didn’t know he was doing it,'” Abrams said.
Giannulli might claim ignorance regarding how their $500,000 payment was used.
“I think the defense is going to be, it sounds like, ‘Yes I was sending in money, I didn’t know what it was for,'” Abrams added. Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying to have fake rowing profiles created for their daughters so that they would appear to be crew team recruits.
“It’s not a strong defense for him, ” Abrams acknowledged, but said that doesn’t mean they don’t have any case at all.
Besides having possible defenses, the punishment that would be guaranteed as a result of a plea may not be worth it to them.
“It sounds like a deal would require prison time, and it sounds like it would be between a year and two years,” Abrams said, pointing out that if that’s the case, Loughlin and Giannulli may want to “roll the dice” and hope that if they are convicted, a judge would go easy on them.
“I can see why, at least she might say ‘I don’t want a deal,'” Abrams concluded. “It’s not crazy.”
[Image via ABC screengrab]