Lori Loughlin will spend two months in prison and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli will spend five months in prison for their role in the college bribery scandal.
The Full House actress appeared before Judge Nathaniel Gorton on Zoom on Friday afternoon, hours after her husband’s hearing.
She wore a white shirt and nodded intently while listening to the judge then broke down in tears as she told the virtual courtroom how sorry she was and that she would work the rest of her life to redeem herself.
Both she and her husband have 90 days to surrender to prison and must report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons before 2pm on Nov. 19. The pair hope to stagger their prison sentences so one parent is available for their children, according to US Weekly.
They denied their role in the scheme for months but changed their pleas earlier this summer and accepted plea deals.
He has asked to go to Lompoc, near Santa Barbara, and she has asked to go to Victorville. The Bureau of Prisons will decide.
Addressing the virtual courtroom, Lori weeped: ‘Thank you for allowing me to express how sorry I am. I made an awful decision.
‘I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage… and in doing so I ignored intuition and allowed myself to be swayed from my moral compass.
‘It only undermined and diminished my daughters’ abilities and accomplishments. I now understand my decision helped exacerbate existing inequalities generally… that realization weighs heavily on me.
‘While I wish I could go back and do things differently, I can only take responsibility and move forward. I have great faith in God and believe in redemption and will do everything in my power to redeem myself,’ she said.
She went on that she wanted to use the experience as a ‘catalyst’ for good, saying: ‘Your honor, I am truly, profoundly and deeply sorry.
‘I am ready to face the consequences and make amends.’
Before she gave her emotional speech, Loughlin shook her head, rolled her eyes and looked incredulously at her attorney while listening to prosecutors rattle off why her crimes were so bad.
Judge Gorton, while accepting that her apology was sincere, told her he was ‘dumbfounded’ by her actions.
‘I believe that you are remorseful and that your statement is sincerely made and that is very important.
‘That is the first part towards the redemption your are seeking- to acknowledge the damage and harm you’ve done.
‘You are the eighth person that I have had to sentence in this college bribery scandal.
‘Each time I am more dumbfounded than the time before.
‘Here you are an admired, successful, professional actor with a long-lasting marriage, two apparently healthy, resilient children, more money than you could possibly need, a beautiful home in sunny, southern California.
‘A fairy tale life. Yet you stand before me a convicted felon. And for what? For the inexplicable desire to grab even more,’ he fumed.
Earlier in the hearing, her attorney read aloud glowing letters from her friends about what a good person she was.
She nodded and listened as they spoke.
‘These anecdotes give you a picture of who Lori is when the camera is not rolling.
‘Part of Lori’s character, her entire life, is continuing to support her family and friends, and to work for the broader good in the aftermath of this humbling experience,’ her attorney said.
Her attorney also complained about the media attention she has received since she was indicted.
‘Of all the parents charged, not a single one had less active participation in the scheme than Lori. I do not say that to excuse her conduct – she did not stop it.
‘This context is important and informs why the government has agreed to the plea agreement.
‘Lori’s decision has had devastating effects on her life. After she was charged, the fall out was swift and severe.
‘She lost the acting career she spent 40 years building.
‘Her personal life has also been upended by the unrelenting media attention.
‘Because of her celebrity, Lori has been the undisputed face of the national scandal. Paparazzi have followed her wherever she goes.
‘No other defendant has landed in the cross hairs of this scandal to anything approaching the level she has.
‘All of that pales in comparison to the pain she feels her daughters have endured.’
The attorney went on to say they’d had to hire security for their daughters to ‘keep them safe’.
They also said it was unfair the pair had to withdraw from college.
‘The knowledge she has harmed her children in this way is a burden she will carry with her the rest of her life,’ the attorney said.
At his hearing, Giannulli’s attorney asked the judge to recommend that he serve his time at Lompoc Camp, just north of Santa Barbara.
The Bureau of Prisons will ultimately decide where he will be sent.
Giannulli addressed the virtual courtroom briefly during his appearance, saying: ‘I deeply regret the harm that my actions have caused my daughters, my wife and others.
‘I take full responsibility for my conduct. I am ready to accept the consequences and move forward with the lessons I’ve learned from this experience.’
His attorney gave a glowing history of his life, calling him ‘Moss’ and describing how hard he’d worked to ascend in the fashion industry.
They also complained that his daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, had been bullied on social media and in person for their parents’ crimes.
Judge Gorton was unsympathetic to the family’s plight.
He told Giannulli there was ‘no excuse’ for his crimes and that he wasn’t ‘stealing bread for his family’ but was ‘living the good life in California’.
He said there were people who experienced harsh disadvantages in life who did not resort to what he and his wife did and that they thought they could buy their way through life.
‘That’s not the way it works in this country, as you are about to find out,’ Judge Gorton said.
The famous pair paid $500,000 to get their daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella into USC by pretending they were champion coxswains.
They were among dozens of well-heeled parents who paid for their kids’ entry.
Felicity Huffman also took part in the scheme, that was masterminded by Rick Singer. She was sentenced to two weeks in prison.
During Friday’s hearing, Giannulli’s attorney described him as a ‘fiercely devoted’ father who’d always put his kids – both the girls with Lori and his son from a previous relationship – first.
He said he had no idea Rick Singer was a criminal when he met him, and that neither he nor his wife ever saw the finished college applications that the girls submitted.
‘Mr Giannulli did not attend or graduate from college. He and his wife needed assistance in order to help navigate the process,’ Giannulli’s lawyer, Sean Berkowtiz, said.
‘[He] recommended Rick Singer to them as a renowned college counselor who could help guide them through the process.
‘At the time, he was not presented as a felon or a huckster or a fraud,’ Berkowitz went on.
Berkowitz then referred to the scheme whereby they pretended the girls were star athletes to get them in as sporting recruits as a ‘side door’.
‘It wasn’t until April 2016 that Mr. Singer first suggested the side door that you’ve heard about.
‘Never did Mr Singer suggest to Moss or his family that they cheat on their tests and both achieved strong grades and test scores.
‘Having said that, when Mr. Singer made the recommendation of the side door, Moss ignored alarm doors, red flags and he went ahead and assisted by taking pictures,’ Berkowitz said.
He went on that he ‘deeply regrets bringing his wife into the scheme’ and complained that the girls have been bullied more than any of the other children involved.
‘The family has been the face of the crisis in a way disproportionate to their overall role.
‘You’ll hear more about that this afternoon .
‘This is a good man who made terrible mistakes,’ he concluded.
Giannulli and Loughlin’s plea deals came after months of them insisting they had done no wrong.
They suddenly changed their tune as COVID-19 swept the prison system and triggered early releases.
Neither of them gave explanations for their sudden change of heart.
Among others to be sentenced is Felicity Huffman. She pleaded guilty almost immediately.