Fuller House star Lori Loughlin, who received additional charges by a grand jury on Tuesday in connection with the college admissions scandal along with her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and nine other parents, is reportedly having some "sleepless nights." She faces up to 45 years in prison.
"Lori is worried and has had sleepless nights throughout this nightmare, but she has never felt the fear she has today," a source told ET.
The new charges in the third superseding indictment claim the parents conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing staff at the University of Southern California to gain their children's admission to the institution. Loughlin and Giannulli have been accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to help their daughters, 19-year-old Olivia and 20-year-old Bella, get admitted to USC as recruits for the crew team, even though neither of them had ever practiced the sport. In April, the couple was charged in a second superseding indictment on conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering and pleaded not guilty.
BREAKING: Actress Lori Loughlin, her husband and nine other parents face new charges in the college admissions scandal. The "Full House" actress and the others are accused of trying to bribe officials at an organization that receives federal funding. https://t.co/EH2CVindJq— The Associated Press (@AP) October 22, 2019
"At this point, choosing the path of not making a plea deal could end her in prison for a long time. The reality is overwhelming," the source said. "Despite being repeatedly told by friends to attempt to make a deal, she has stuck to her guns and still has no plans to plead guilty even with the additional charges. She is convinced that the prosecution is determined to make an example of her."
The source added that Loughlin's family and children are supporting the couple, saying that the girls feel incredibly guilty since their parents took risks for their sake. "The new bribery charge has affected everyone," the source said. "Emotionally the whole family has suffered tremendously, and it has taken its toll. They are all scared to death." This week ET confirmed that Loughlin’s daughters are no longer enrolled at USC.
Coincidentally, another parent charged in the scandal, actress Felicity Huffman is wrapping up her jail sentence. Huffman, who pleaded guilty rather than fighting the charges, is completing a two-week prison sentence. The two actresses were involved in schemes executed by Rick Singer, who enabled cheating on standardized tests and bribed coaches in the admissions process. Singer pleaded guilty to four federal charges and is working with prosecutors.
Huffman asked Singer to arrange for a proctor to boost test scores after her daughter took the SAT exam and paid him $15,000, a criminal complaint stated. Loughlin, on the other hand, paid bribes to have their two daughters selected as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team and paid Singer $500,000 to have their daughters pose as USC athletes. Huffman, who pleaded guilty in a Boston court in May, weeks after her arrest, was able to avoid further charges and was sentenced to 14 days in prison in September. During sentencing, the Desperate Housewives actress said she was "deeply ashamed" of her actions.
Loughlin and Giannulli, who were initially charged with conspiracy fraud and then with conspiracy to commit money laundering, pleaded not guilty. Both charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. They now face a maximum of up to 45 years in prison if found guilty.