On Friday, one chapter of the college admissions bribery scandal came to a close.
In a Boston courtroom, actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison for paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s answers on the SAT.
Dozens of affluent parents were ensnared in the FBI’s “Varsity Blues” sting operation, and along with fellow actress Lori Loughlin, Huffman came to embody the unchecked entitlement that led to such rampant cheating on behalf of already-privileged young people.
When word of Huffman’s sentencing got out, thoughts turned to Loughlin and what the news might mean for her.
Unlike Huffman, Loughlin rejected a plea deal and plans to fight the charges against her in court.
At first, there were reports that the sentencing might actually be good news for Loughlin, as it amounted to a defeat for prosecutors — a defeat that might lead them to offer a second plea deal.
Now, however, an insider tells Fox News that even if a second deal is offered, it will certainly involve jail time for the actress.
“If she’s found guilty, she will go to jail; that is clear. And if another deal is offered to her, which I don’t think it will be, she will go to jail,” the source said.
“Her only chance of avoiding jail is to beat these charges. Lori is a smart woman; she understands that,” the insider continued.
“She’s scared and upset, but she’s resolved to be strong and to fight this. She will do what she has to do to protect herself and her family.”
Considering the charges against Loughlin are far more serious (she allegedly doled out $500,000 in bribes to Huffman’s $15,00) it seems almost certain that she’ll be going from Full House to the big house.
She stands accused of bribing admissions officials so that both of her daughters would be accepted to USC as members of the crew team — even though neither of them had ever rowed before.
Loughlin is still holding out hope that she’ll beat the charges — but that seems increasingly unlikely in the wake of Huffman’s sentencing.
She and her husband — fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli — are playing the ignorance card and claiming they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.
But legal experts say that didn’t work for Huffman, and it won’t work Loughlin.
“The government doesn’t have to prove that Loughlin and Giannulli knew what the payments were used for,” said attorney Neama Rahmani. “
The fraudulent application to USC is enough to support the conspiracy charges. And there is more than enough circumstantial evidence to prove that they knew the payments were for an illicit or unlawful purpose.”
The source says Loughlin regrets not accepting the original deal from prosecutors, but he claims her reason for doing so is that she did not fully understand the charges against her.
“She didn’t understand the entire nature of the charges against her, and she wasn’t even sure if or how she had broken the law. It was very early, and she didn’t have all the information that she has now,” the source said.
“Based on what she understood at the time, she made the best choice for herself. Now there is no deal on the table, and she has to have faith that the courts and the prosecution will move fairly and not make an example out of her.”
Of course, the reality of Lori’s situation has come into stark clarity in the days since Huffman’s sentencing.
Despite her bleak prospects, however, it seems Loughlin still has not come to grips with the fact that she’ll likely be doing time.
“This has been a rough day,” the source says.
“Lori is going to move forward as best as she can, but now she has a little more clarity about what will happen next.”