Lori Loughlin accused of withholding evidence in college admissions scam case

Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, say they did not know their money was being used for bribery

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 15, 2020 5:18PM (EST)

 Lori Loughlin, center, and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, behind her at right, leave the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Lori Loughlin, center, and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, behind her at right, leave the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli — who have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and bribery to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California — are now being accused of withholding evidence.

In a court filing on Friday, federal prosecutors accused Loughlin, Giannulli and a majority of the other parents in the college admissions scam case of not submitting their discovery materials, according to CNN. Defense attorneys argued that "the defendants have filed certain motions to compel ... and do not agree that the government has yet complied with its discovery obligations."

In its filing, the government said that it "disagrees with the defendants' assertion that it is premature to provide their own discovery. The government contends that it has complied with its discovery obligations and continues to comply with them." After noting that the defendants have had roughly eight months to review the government's discovery and engage in other activities necessary to present the strongest possible court case, it added that "it is not premature to provide discovery, which they can later supplement, to the government as required by the rules."

The case against Loughlin and Giannulli has taken many twists and turns since the college admissions scandal broke in March. Loughlin and Giannulli have accused the federal government of hiding evidence that would help their defense case and, in a motion filed last year, defense attorneys argued that the couple did not know their money was being used to bribe the college.

"The Government appears to be concealing exculpatory evidence that helps show that both Defendants believed all of the payments they made would go to USC itself — for legitimate, university-approved purposes — or to other legitimate charitable causes," Loughlin and Giannulli claimed last month through their attorney. The motion also claimed that "the Government must therefore prove, among other things, that Giannulli and Loughlin intended to defraud USC."

Speaking to Salon in 2018, Loughlin discussed her ambitions for her college-bound daughters.

"She is in school and I'm glad," Loughlin said. "She just finished her first year of college and she really enjoys it and I think she'll get her degree. And I just said to her, "Look, have some back up plan. Get a degree and something else. You can study theater [and] whatever you need to also at school." I think I've shown her and presented all the pitfalls that there might be. I would be a hypocrite at this point to say no, you can't do it, because I'm doing it. She sees me and I'm making a living. And then there's a part of me that goes yes, it's a hard business, but why not her?"

The other big name in the case, actress Felicity Huffman (wife of actor William H. Macy), served an 11-day prison sentence in October after admitting to paying for someone to correct her daughter's college entrance exam after she took it. The end result was that her daughter's exam grade increased by 400 points.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Aggregate College Admissions Scam Felicity Huffman Lori Loughlin