Now that actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have plead not guilty to the charges filed against them in the college admissions bribery scandal, sources close to the couple are claiming they are feeling “manipulated.”
Sources told the press that Loughlin wasn't aware that she was breaking the law when she and Giannulli allegedly paid more than $500,000 in reported bribes to William "Rick" Singer to secure the admission of their daughters Isabella and Olivia Jade to the University of Southern California. Singer allegedly helped the girls pose as members of the crew team so they could be designated as recruits despite neither of them actually being rowers.
A source told Entertainment Tonight that both Loughlin and Giannulli felt they were manipulated into believing what they were doing was not illegal, although they admit they may have simply been breaking school rules. The couple "claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws," the source said.
"They feel they were manipulated by those involved and are planning that as part of their defense. They realize how serious the charges are, but feel that once the judge hears their story, he will see they had no bad intentions," the source added.
After the couple's first court appearance where they refused to plead guilty, the court brought two additional charges against them including money laundering as well as conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Those two charges carry a possible maximum jail sentence of 20 years in prison each.
Once again, the source states that both Loughlin and Giannulli weren't aware of the seriousness of their actions. "They in no way felt they were money laundering," the source insisted. "They thought the money would be used for a donation and to benefit the school. Even so, this has been one of the toughest decisions of Lori‘s life."
It seems that Loughlin and Giannulli are now terrified of the prospect of having to spend a maximum of 40 years behind bars as a result of their alleged actions. "When Lori heard the number of years she could spend in prison she broke down crying. The thought of being separated from her loved ones for years brought her to her knees," the source claimed. "She has watched as the other families cut deals but her husband feels they are not guilty and should plead not guilty."
The source also claims that Loughlin is choosing to trust her advisers and still holds out hope that she will be found not guilty.