Lori Loughlin, Husband Plan to Plead Not Guilty to New Bribery Charges in College Admissions Scandal
In separate legal filings submitted to the U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday, actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, asked that their appearances at an upcoming arraignment be waived, sources confirm to PEOPLE.
The filings — by attorneys representing the couple — indicate that, if they were physically present for their November 20 arraignment, both defendants would enter not guilty pleas to the conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery charges they were indicted on last month.
A federal court official tells PEOPLE that if a judge approves the requests, lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli would appear in their place, and, at that time, not guilty pleas would be entered on their behalf.
The court official tells PEOPLE Loughlin and Giannulli “did not formally plead not guilty to anything” on Friday.
Federal programs bribery is defined as theft or bribery of an organization that receives more than 10,000 in federal funds.
According to the U.S. Penal Code, the charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison.
Prior to the new charges, Loughlin and Giannulli each already faced charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud. They previously faced up to 40 years in prison.
On March 12, the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts indicted Loughlin and Giannulli in the shocking nationwide scam as part of an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
Nearly 50 other parents, coaches, exam proctors and admissions counselors are accused of actions such as paying for boosted SAT scores and lying about students’ athletic skills in order to gain them acceptance to elite colleges including Yale, Georgetown, USC and Stanford.
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to admissions consultant William Singer to falsely designate daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 20, as recruits to the USC crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport.
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Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, are currently awaiting their trial.
Fellow actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty in May to mail fraud and honest services fraud, and was sentenced to 14 days in jail.
Additionally, a judge fined the Desperate Housewives actress $30,000 and said she would be on supervised release for one year. She will also have to do 250 hours of community service.
In a statement last month, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lellling says that the new charges have a goal of achieving justice.
“Today’s charges are the result of ongoing investigation in the nationwide college admissions case,” Lelling says. “Our goal from the beginning has been to hold the defendants fully accountable for corrupting the college admissions process through cheating, bribery and fraud. The superseding indictments will further that effort.”