Lori Loughlin Is Finding It 'Harder and Harder' to 'Keep It Together' Amid Scandal: Source

"She just wanted what was best for her daughters. And it has turned into an ongoing nightmare," says the Lori Loughlin source

As the college admissions scandal continues to intensify for Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, a source says the Full House star is cracking under the pressure.

“It’s getting harder and harder for her to keep it together,” says a Loughlin source. “This stress is about to break them.”

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release Oct. 22 that Loughlin, 55, Giannulli, 56, and nine other defendants “conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission.” They have been charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

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Prior to the new charges, Loughlin and Giannulli both 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 and have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Loughlin is adamant that the allegations against her aren’t true. “Does she regret not taking the deal? Of course she does, because it would have been easier,” says the source.

“But taking the deal would have admitted guilt, and she believes she was duped by unscrupulous people who enriched themselves off her. It is her position that she was not some sort of criminal mastermind,” the source says. “She just wanted what was best for her daughters. And it has turned into an ongoing nightmare.”

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, 20, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 21, as recruits to the USC crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport. (The USC Registrar has since confirmed that “Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli are not currently enrolled” at the university.)

Lori and Mossimo
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty

As Loughlin’s future remains unknown, maintaining her innocence is taking its toll. “It’s remarkable to watch sometimes,” says the source.

“Lori will have moments where she breaks down because this is all so much. But then something changes. You can watch her clench her jaw, and her eyes change, and it’s like, ‘Okay. Let’s do this.’ She is a fighter. She maintains that she did nothing wrong, and if they are going to lock her up, they need to lock up everyone who has donated a library to a college so their kid will get in,” the source shares. “She realizes that her only hope is to beat this in court.”

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