54th Defendant Pleading Guilty in College Admissions Scam

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A judge is yet to decide whether to accept plea deals offered to “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, for paying half a million dollars to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California, the Associated Press reports. The couple appeared on separate screens during their video hearing Friday, answering questions from U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston. Under their proposed deals, Loughlin, 55, hopes to spend two months in prison and Giannulli, 56, is seeking to serve five months. Gorton did not say when he would decide but scheduled their sentencing hearings for Aug. 21. Loughlin and Giannulli were among dozens of wealthy parents, athletic coaches and others charged in the bribery scheme. The parents paid hefty bribes to get their kids into top universities with bogus test scores or fake athletic credentials, authorities said.

Prosecutors said a 54th person, Peter Dameris, 60, of Pacific Palisades, Ca., will plead guilty to paying $300,000 to bribe his son’s way into Georgetown University as a tennis recruit, though he did not play tennis. Dameris, a former technology executive, is the 25th parent to plead guilty. Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with getting their two daughters into USC as crew recruits, though neither girl was a rower. Prosecutors say they funneled money through a sham charity of admissions consultant Rick Singer, who has pleaded guilty. Loughlin and Giannulli had insisted they were innocent and believed their payments were legitimate donations to the school or Singer’s charity. Legal analyst Peter Elikann called the deal a low-risk proposition.“If the  judge doesn’t want to do the sentence that they agreed upon with the prosecution, then they’re allowed to back out … a free bite at the apple,” said Elikann, a criminal defense attorney teaching at Bridgewater State University.

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