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USC Cleans House! Do Firings Help Lori Loughlin's Legal Case??

USC Athletics Firings Lori Loughlin College Admissions Scandal

Did Lori Loughlin‘s legal case just get a big boost?

The Full House star and fashion designer hubby Mossimo Giannulli are two of the final holdouts who refused to plead guilty after being indicted as part of Operation Varsity Blues, the FBI sting operation on a ring of college admissions bribery and cheating.

Accused of bribing officials in the USC athletics department with an astounding HALF MILLION DOLLARS in order to get their daughters registered as members of the crew team (even though they didn’t row crew), Lori and Moss are facing charges of fraud, bribery, and even money laundering — crimes with total sentences of up to 50 years behind bars.

Related: Lori Never Actually Sent Fake Rowing Photos Of Daughters?

Sadly for Aunt Becky fans, it seemed like federal prosecutors had them over a barrel, what with all the hard evidence in the indictment.

But we recently learned the wily celeb parents have a legal defense they think can beat all that — they just have to prove to a jury they thought they were making perfectly legal donations. Hmm. We’re not sure that’s how the law works, but let’s play along for a moment.

The so-called exculpatory evidence the Giannullis’ legal team has is that no checks were written directly to any of the USC staff — but one is made out to “USC” itself. That implies they thought it was a regular donation to the school, not some back-channel bribe to an individual. At least, that’s how the defense will argue it.

The other piece of the defense argument is showing how this was commonplace at USC; the athletics department was nonstop fundraising, and this was just business as usual for them. Lori and Mossimo were just wealthy parents joining the system of ethically dubious — but not illegal — donations which curried favor when it came to the admissions determinations.

Well, this part is looking more and more legit! Er, poor choice of words, but you get what we mean. It may be real is what we’re saying.

See, TMZ just learned USC — which stated months ago it was doing its own internal investigation regarding the admissions scandal — is cleaning house. They just fired CFO Steve Lopes, senior associate athletic director Ron Orr, and associate athletic director Scott Jacobson. According to the report, all three were steeped in the athletics department’s supposedly sketchy fundraising efforts.

That is of course in addition to Donna Heinel, the senior associate athletics director the Giannullis are accused of bribing, who was fired way back in March 2019 — the same day the indictments were announced apparently. (Heinel has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering.)

Sources also told the outlet the university has been turning over reams of documentation to the feds AND to the defense attorneys involved. If the defense can prove a widespread system of soliciting “donations” from naive parents, that will go a LONG way towards convincing people of their theory of the case.

Lori Loughlin Netflix GIF by Fuller House - Find & Share on GIPHY

Of course… it doesn’t exactly clear them completely. They’re reportedly on record agreeing to tell the government they gave money to a charity when they supposedly thought they were donating to USC, right? It doesn’t exactly look as innocent from their point of view, even if there was wrongdoing at USC as well.

What do YOU think? Do Lori and Mossimo have a chance of getting off??

[Image via WENN/USC.]

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Jan 15, 2020 06:17am PDT