Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter
Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, reportedly feel they were “manipulated” by the people running the alleged national college admission scam, Operation Varsity Blues.
“[Lori and her husband] claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws,” a source close to the 54-year-old actress shared with Entertainment Tonite on Monday. (RELATED: Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Bragged About Going To School To Party)
Olivia Jade Giannulli, Lori Loughlin and Isabella Rose Giannulli attend The Women’s Cancer Research Fund’s An Unforgettable Evening Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 28, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
“They feel they were manipulated by those involved and are planning that as part of their defense,” the source added. “They realize how serious the charges are, but feel that once the judge hears their story he will see they had no bad intentions.”(RELATED: Lori Loughlin Released After Paying $1 Million Bond)
The source close to the “Full House” actress continued, “They in no way felt they were money laundering. 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.”
“When Lori heard the number of years she could spend in prison she broke down crying,” an insider shared. “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.” (RELATED: REPORT: 7 FBI Agents Arrested Felicity Huffman At Gunpoint)
“[Their friends] have explained to them that they cannot just plead ignorance,” the insider added. “In the end, she trusts those who are advising her and somehow believes there is a chance she will go free.”
The comments come on the heels of reports earlier in the day that Loughlin and Giannulli had pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges facing them for their alleged involvement in the college admission scheme. The two were arrested last month, accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli, into the University of Southern California (USC) by pretending they were competitive rowing recruits.
As previously reported, last week a federal grand jury indicted the actress and her husband on additional charges of fraud and money laundering for their alleged part in the national college admission scam. Loughlin and Giannulli now face a total of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.