Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli are making an another appearance in a Boston federal courtroom on Tuesday in order to resolve a dispute related to their defense lawyers.
The couple, accused of federal fraud and money laundering in “Operation Varsity Blues” (otherwise known as the college admissions scandal), would like to continue using the same law firm. Prosecutors, on the other hand, have argued that the arrangement raises a possible conflict of interest, the Associated Press reported.
This is not a new dispute.
Back in June, Law&Crime reported that USC was considering filing a lawsuit against Loughlin and Giannulli. The drama, of course, began when Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for allegedly paying out $500,000 in bribes as part of a racketeering scheme orchestrated by William “Rick” Singer. Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid to have fake rowing profiles created so their daughters Isabella and Olivia Jade would get into USC. Neither daughter had ever participated in crew.
USC is considered a victim in the case; prosecutors raised the possibility of civil suits being filed. The Los Angeles Times reported that USC informed Loughlin and Giannulli’s legal team that they may very well be sued. The detail apparently came out in a May 6 letter from one of their lawyers to the feds. The letter said: “It is possible that USC may have civil disputes with one or both sometime in the future.”
But prosecutors saw a problem with the situation.
It was suggested that Latham & Watkins, the law firm representing Loughlin and Giannulli, could have conflicts of interest since it also represents USC in an unrelated matter. Prosecutors said that the school would be entitled to a victim-impact statement in a sentencing hearing, which Loughlin’s defense counsel would be obligated to look at and possibly challenge.
Loughlin’s attorney William Trach said, however, that there was no conflict of interest.
“Our law firm is confident that it has no or reasonably foreseeable conflict of interest in this case,” Trach wrote in a May 6 letter cited by prosecutors, according to USA Today. Because the cases were unrelated and handled by different attorneys, Loughlin, Giannulli and their attorneys have argued that there is no conflict.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges and would like to present a “united front” in fighting the government’s “baseless accusations.”
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
[Image via Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images]