Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli should right there with their parents Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli when the husband and wife are sentenced for their roles in the college admissions scandal on Friday, according to one legal expert.
“I would have charged the daughters,” former U.S. Attorney Naema Rahmani, who is not involved in the case, told The Mercury News on Thursday. “They were absolutely complicit.”
On Aug. 21, the “Full House” actress, 56, and her fashion designer husband, 57, will be handed their sentences after accepting a plea deal and pleading guilty.
The couple was accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters designated as recruits for the University of Southern California (USC) despite the fact that neither of them ever participated in the sport. Their daughters no longer attend USC.
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For their participation in the wide-ranging scheme, prosecutors recommended two months in federal prison for Loughlin and five months for Giannulli. The parents appeared to fall on their swords for the sake of Olivia Jade, 20, and Isabella, 21, so the sisters would not be subjected to testifying at a trial or being criminally charged themselves for their own involvement – a possibility Rahmani said was likely.
In April, Fox News obtained court documents filed by the FBI that included images allegedly depicting the famous couple’s daughters dressed in workout gear on an ERG machine in an attempt to make their admission to the university as rowers more believable.
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The images were allegedly staged in order to falsely designate the sisters as recruits for the university crew team in admissions applications.
The documents also include email correspondence between Giannulli and scheme mastermind and admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer in which they allegedly discuss staging the photos in an effort to sell the lie to the university.
The documents show that in August of 2016, Singer sent Loughlin and Giannulli an email explaining that he was in the process of creating a coxswain portfolio for one of their daughters and noted that, “it would probably help to get a picture with her on an ERG in workout clothes like a real athlete too.”
Giannulli responded: “Fantastic. Will get all.”
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The documents indicate he emailed a photo of one of his daughters on Sept. 7, 2016.
In July of 2017, Giannulli sent a photo of his other daughter to Singer, this time cc’ing Loughlin on the thread.
However, new details have since emerged that detail the extent the Giannulli family went to foster their plan for USC admission as a sentencing memo submitted by prosecutors shows Loughlin and Giannulli had copied Olivia Jade, a former YouTube star with over 2 million subscribers, on emails they exchanged with Singer.
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The memo further alleges Loughlin and Gianuulli groomed Olivia Jade about what to say and how to interact with her high school guidance counselor, who grew suspicious of her USC application.
Citing the memo, the Mercury News said Olivia Jade pressed her mother about whether she should list USC as her top choice for interest in schools.
“Yes . . . But it might be a flag for the weasel to meddle,” replied Loughlin before Giannulli added: “(Expletive) him,” and referred to the counselor as a “nosy bastard.”
Loughlin later chimed: “Don’t say too much to that man.”
In May, the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Office announced that the couple would plead guilty. The duo struck a plea deal that would have them both serve time behind bars that is well below the maximum they likely would have received after a losing court battle.
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Loughlin agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and Giannulli will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and to honest services wire and mail fraud.
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The charge of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The couple’s previous charges of money laundering and conspiracy could have resulted in 40 years.
However, according to the terms of the recent plea agreement, Loughlin would serve two months and pay a $150,000 fine along with two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Giannulli, meanwhile, would serve five months in prison, pay a $250,000 fine with two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service.
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Although the couple officially pleaded guilty, the judge neither rejected nor accepted the terms of their plea agreement, saying he’ll issue an official ruling after reviewing pre-sentencing reports. The couple is scheduled for official sentencing on Aug. 21 at 2:30 p.m. for Loughlin and 11:00 a.m. for Giannulli
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.