Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli‘s future is up in the air as they face time in prison for their alleged involvement in the college admissions scandal, but the Fuller House star is most afraid for the couple’s daughters Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella Rose, 20, a legal source tells PEOPLE.
“Lori is very concerned about what a trial will do to her daughters,” says the legal source. “It will undermine every accomplishment they have in the future and it will be part of their story forever.”
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On Monday, Both Loughlin, 54, and Giannulli, 55, pleaded not guilty to both charges they face: mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison for each charge.
“It’s not in their best interest for this to go to trial, and Lori knows it. Because if it goes to trial, the girls will have to take the stand, and be cross examined by a prosecution that wants nothing more than to put a notch on their belt,” says the legal source.
The source adds, “Lori is very afraid that her daughters will have to testify. That will traumatize them even more.”
On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that it had charged 50 people, including Loughlin, in the cheating scandal. The actress, along with coaches, admissions counselors and parents were accused of such alleged crimes as falsifying SAT scores and lying about the athletic skills of their children.
Loughlin allegedly wanted her daughters to get into the University of Southern California so badly that she and Giannulli paid approximately $500,000 in bribes to falsely designate their daughters as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.
For Loughlin, what matters most is the opinion of her daughters. “Yes, she can think about the public perception of her, but that’s nothing compared to what her daughters think of her,” says the legal source.
Now, Loughlin and Giannulli are laying low as they “thoughtfully” consider their next steps.
“She will continue to make a good faith effort to put this case behind her,” says the legal source, “and she hopes the prosecutors will do the same.”