Actress Lori Loughlin leaves a federal court in Boston after a hearing on felony charges in college admissions scandal. pic.twitter.com/c7vl7ZOlIs
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 27, 2019
After Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli made an appearance in a Boston federal courtroom on Tuesday, the couple emerged without answering questions.
Observers immediately noted that Loughlin was not smiling and signing autographs for her fans, as was the case before an April court appearance.
May you have as much confidence as Lori Loughlin signing autographs before her court appearance pic.twitter.com/gcRJHAYppj
— Alexis Benveniste (@apbenven) April 3, 2019
The backlash over Loughlin’s demeanor was such that subsequent reports would claim she regretted it. Us Weekly, citing an unnamed source, reported at the end of May that Loughlin regretted “wearing the khaki pantsuit and smiling so much on her way into court.” That source claimed that this occurred because Loughlin “didn’t want to walk into the courthouse looking ashamed and guilty,” adding that Loughlin “believes she’s innocent and she wouldn’t have pled not guilty if she didn’t think she wasn’t guilty.”
On Tuesday, Loughlin was stone-faced and all business.
As Law&Crime reported earlier Tuesday, the couple was heading back to court to resolve a dispute regarding their choice of attorneys. Prosecutors argued 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 and Giannulli face federal fraud and money laundering charges in the wake of Operation Varsity Blues; they are accused of creating fake rowing profiles to get their daughters Isabella Giannulli and Olivia Jade Giannulli into USC, “agree[ing] to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the [University of Southern California (USC)] crew team–despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.”
Loughlin’s attorney William Trach maintained all along 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. Because the cases were unrelated and handled by different attorneys, Loughlin, Giannulli and their attorneys argued that there was no conflict.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges and expressed a desire to present a “united front” in fighting the government’s “baseless accusations.” Federal Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley ruled on Tuesday that couple can continue using the law firm for their defense, WBZ reported. The couple also waived their right to separate attorneys, meaning that they will move forward with their united front as planned.
USA Today reported that the Tuesday hearing took 45 minutes. Prosecutors have reportedly argued that Latham & Watkins wasn’t the only potential conflict in this case, pointing out that the Donnelly, Vonroy & Gelhaar law firm that Giannulli hired represents Davina Jackson and Peter Jan Sartorio — two other parents charged in Operation Varsity Blues. The judge’s ruling on this other potential conflict is expected to come later, though it is not clear when.
[Image via MSNBC screengrab]