U.S. Attorney Says He'll Likely Push for Lori Loughlin to Get Harsher Sentence Than Felicity Huffman
Nearly one month after Huffman was sentenced to 14 days behind bars, Andrew Lelling, the U.S Attorney for of Massachusetts, spoke to WCVB Channel 5 Boston, where he opened up about the two actresses’ opposite trials and what he believed was in store for Loughlin.
“We will probably ask for a higher sentence for [Loughlin] than we did for Felicity Huffman,” he revealed in a recent interview. “I can’t tell you what that would be… it’s tough to tell at this point.”
Lelling went on to note how Huffman and Loughlin’s cases were very different, which would explain the variation in sentences, and praised the Desperate Housewives star, 56, for handling her situation in “a very classy way.”
“It just happened to be that Ms. Huffman was probably the least culpable of the defendants who we’ve charged in that case,” he told the news anchors. “She took responsibility almost immediately, she was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a very classy way.”
“At the end of the day, we thought the one month was proportional,” he continued, referencing prosecutors’ initial sentence recommendation for Huffman. “I think the two weeks was also reasonable. We were happy with that. I think it was a thoughtful sentence.”
“I think it sent a clear message to the other parents involved that there really is a good chance if you’re convicted of the offense, you’re going to go to prison for some period of time,” Lelling added.
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Huffman and Loughlin’s cases have been very different from the start.
Loughlin, 55, allegedly gave $500,000 to have her daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, designated as crew team recruits for USC, even though they had never rowed, according to the March indictment.
Prosecutors alleged in the original criminal complaint against the couple that Loughlin paid $500,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his alleged nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), which prosecutors said was actually a front for accepting bribes.
Singer has since admitted his role as the ringleader of the scam and has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.
Huffman, however, only paid $15,000 to Singer, who then facilitated cheating on Huffman’s daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers after the fact.
Because the alleged dollar amounts were different, Huffman was bound to face less jail time than Loughlin — and she received a more lenient sentence after she pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
In addition to the 14 days of incarceration, the judge fined her $30,000 and said she would be on supervised release for one year. She will also have to do 250 hours of community service.
As Huffman was receiving her sentence in September, a source close to the Full House star told PEOPLE that Loughlin was watching very closely to see whether her fellow actress would get any time in jail.
“Lori is aware of Felicity’s sentence, and is processing what that means for her,” the source told PEOPLE. “Her only move now is to take this to court and to prove that she is not guilty of what she’s charged with.”
“If she’s found guilty, she will go to jail; that is clear,” the source said. “And if another deal is offered to her, which I don’t think it will be, she will go to jail. Her only chance of avoiding jail is to beat these charges. Lori is a smart woman; she understands that. She’s scared and upset, but she’s resolved to be strong and to fight this. She will do what she has to do to protect herself and her family.”
The source also revealed that Loughlin “regrets” not taking a deal and claimed that the star did not fully comprehend the charges that were presented against her and Giannulli in March.
“She didn’t understand the entire nature of the charges against her, and she wasn’t even sure if or how she had broken the law,” the source said.
“It was very early, and she didn’t have all the information that she has now. Based on what she understood at the time, she made the best choice for herself. Now there is no deal on the table, and she has to have faith that the courts and the prosecution will move fairly and not make an example out of her.”