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Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli Receive Prison Sentences for College Admissions Scam

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  • Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison Friday while her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was sentenced to five months for their role in the massive college admission scheme. 
  • The couple was found to have paid $500,000 to get their daughters, Isabella Rose and Olivia Jade, admitted to USC as fake rowing recruits.
  • The sentences aligned with their plea agreement from May and also include two years of supervised release, community service, and fines. 
  • Both gave statements during their hearings, with Loughlin apologizing and promising to use this as “a catalyst to do good and give back for the rest of my life.”

What Were They Charged With? 

After more than a year of legal proceedings, actress Lori Loughin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli were sentenced Friday for their role in the college admissions scandal.

Loughlin and Giannulli were arguably the most high profile figures caught participating in this massive scam that was first announced in March 2019. They were both accused of paying the scheme’s mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, $500,000 to secure their daughters, Isabella Rose and Olivia Jade, spots at the University of Southern California as fake rowing recruits. 

As the cases against them developed, emails, photos, and other documents were uncovered showing just how far they went to create their daughters’ fake athletic portfolios. At one point they even had their daughters pose on rowing machines.

Source: Massachusetts Attorney’s Office

If they had been found guilty of all the conspiracy charges stacked against them, they could have received up to 20 years in prison. The couple maintained their innocence for more than a year, with their defense attorneys saying they thought they were donating to a legitimate business. 

However, the two finally pleaded guilty in May. At that time, they hammered out a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for some of the charges being dropped. Loughlin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and honest services wire and mail fraud. 

Sentences Handed Down

On Friday, they were both sentenced during virtual court hearings, with Gianulli’s happening first. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton gave him a five-month prison sentence that includes two years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, and a $250,000 fine.

Loughlin was given a two-month sentence, with two years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and a $150,000 fine.

As far as why Gianulli faced more charges and prison time, according to prosecutors, evidence suggested Giannulli was the more active participant.

In a sentencing memo released last week, prosecutors wrote, “He engaged more frequently with Singer, directed the bribe payments to USC and Singer, and personally confronted his daughter’s high school counselor to prevent the scheme from being discovered, brazenly lying about his daughter’s athletic abilities.” 

“Loughlin took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit, eagerly enlisting Singer a second time for her younger daughter, and coaching her daughter not to ‘say too much’ to her high school’s legitimate college counselor, lest he catch on to their fraud.”

Apologies and Judge’s Remarks

At each of their hearings, both also made statements, with Giannulli saying: “I deeply regret the harm that my actions have caused my daughters, my wife and others.”

“I take full responsibility for my conduct. I’m ready to accept the consequences and move forward with the lessons I’ve learned from this experience.”

Loughlin, for her part, said, “I made an awful decision. I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage in the college admissions process.”

“In doing so, I ignored my intuition and allowed myself to be swayed from my moral compass. I thought I was acting out of love for my children, but in reality it only undermined and diminished my daughters’ abilities and accomplishments,” she continued.

“More broadly, and more importantly, I now understand that my decision helped exacerbate existing inequalities in society generally, and the higher education system more specifically. That realization weighs heavily on me.”

She said she wishes she could go back band do things differently but added, “I will do everything in my power to redeem myself and use this experience as a catalyst to do good and give back for the rest of my life. I am truly, profoundly and deeply sorry. I am ready to face the consequences and make amends.”

During sentencing, Judge Gorton reportedly told Loughling that he believed her statement was sincere, but said he was dumbfounded by her choices.

“You have more money than you could need — a fairy-tale life, yet you stand before me a convicted felon, and for what? For the inexplicable desire to grasp even more,” he said.

“To have whatever prestige and instant gratification that comes from being able to show off the admission of your daughters to a preferred university.”

In Giannuli’s hearing, Gorton said: “You are an informed, smart businessman. You certainly knew better.”

“You were not stealing bread to feed your family. You have no excuse for your crime and that makes it all the more blameworthy.”

Still, at Gianulli’s hearing, the judge called the sentencing “sufficient but not greater than necessary under the circumstance.” The sentencing lines up with what they had agreed to at the time of their pleas, which left little wiggle room for the judge to veer off. 

According to reports, both must surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons before 2 p.m. on November 19. 

In all, at least 55 people have been charged in connection with the admissions scheme. Twenty have been sentenced, while more than a dozen others have already pleaded guilty or have agreed to, including coaches, administrators, and test-takers. 

See what others are saying: (Fox News) (CNN) (NPR)

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Netflix Launches “Fast Laughs,” a TikTok-Like Feed of Funny Clips

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  • Netflix has created a TikTok-style feature it calls “Fast Laughs,” which is currently only available on its iOS mobile app in select countries.
  • Executives described it as a “new full-screen feed of funny clips from a wide variety of Netflix titles, ranging from films and series to our deep bench of stand-up specials.”
  • The clips can be shared on social media, and if users stumble across something they want to see more of, they can save that title to watch later or play it immediately. 

Netflix Announces “Fast Laughs”

Netflix is now the latest platform to introduce its own TikTok-like feature.

On Thursday, the company announced “Fast Laughs,” which is currently only available on its iOS mobile app in select countries.

It essentially looks like TikTok, but Patrick Flemming, director of product innovation at Netflix, told The Verge it is a “new full-screen feed of funny clips from a wide variety of Netflix titles, ranging from films and series to our deep bench of stand-up specials.”

In its announcement blog post, Netflix said, “You access the feed through your bottom navigation menu by clicking on the Fast Laughs tab. Clips will start playing – when one ends another begins, to keep the laughs coming.

If a user stumbles across a scene they want to see more of, they can save that title to watch later or play it immediately if they’d like. They can also share the clips individually on Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Could It Really Rival TikTok?

Adding this TikTok-style feature may seem surprising since Netflix is a streaming service rather than a social media platform.

However, Netflix’s last few earnings reports have actually referenced TikTok as a major competitor. It’s not because they make the same style of content but instead because people are spending more time on TikTok – which for some means less time on Netflix.

While “Fast Laughs” might not compete with TikTok the way some other copycats hope to, some believe it’s an interesting way to highlight the huge library of content the site offers.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Tech Crunch) (USA Today)

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Court Sides With Sofia Vergara, Says Ex Cannot Use Embryos Without Permission

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  • A Los Angeles court sided with actress Sofia Vergara on Tuesday, ruling that her ex-fiance Nick Loeb cannot use their embryos without her consent. 
  • The court cited a document the former couple had signed agreeing that both parties needed to approve the use of the embryos, arguing that the document could not be void. 
  • In a response, Loeb appeared to plug his new movie, saying the judge was “clearly influenced by Hollywood, which is a pattern I expose in my upcoming film Roe v. Wade.”
  • Loeb had been trying to obtain custody of the embryos for many years and even argued in a Louisiana court that they should be treated as humans with rights, though the case was dismissed. 

Court Sides With Sofia Vergara 

Los Angeles County Superior Court sided with actress Sofia Vergara Tuesday, ruling that her ex-fiance could not use their embryos without her permission. 

Vergara has been involved in a court battle with her ex, Nick Loeb, for several years. The two split in 2014 and had reportedly undergone in vitro fertilization within a year before their break up. 

Loeb had been fighting to use those embryos on his own via a surrogate. According to TMZ, he at one point tried to take custody of them through a trust and named the embryos in a lawsuit. He also argued in a Louisiana court that the embryos should be recognized as humans with rights. The court dismissed that case in January and said Loeb was “forum shopping” for a court that might agree with his argument. At the time, his team said he would appeal their decision.

People Magazine obtained court documents from the Los Angeles court’s ruling, which granted Vergara’s request for a permanent injunction preventing Loeb from using the embryos “to create a child without the explicit written permission of the other person.”

Loeb Responds to Ruling

The court cited a document the former couple both signed at a fertility clinic, agreeing that both parties had to approve of any use of the embryos. Loeb tried to argue that he signed it under “duress” but the court still said that their agreement was not voidable based on that defense. 

Loeb also tried to argue that he and the Modern Family actress had an “oral agreement” that would allow him to use the embryos on his own terms, but court said there was no “material fact” to support this.

According to People, Loeb issued a statement that plugged his new movie after the ruling. He said the judge “was clearly influenced by Hollywood, which is a pattern I expose in my upcoming film Roe v. Wade.”

“It’s sad that Sofia, a devout Catholic, would intentionally create babies just to kill them,” he continued. 

Vergara’s team has not yet issued a statement on the case.

See what others are saying: (TMZ) (People) (Entertainment Tonight)

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Chris D’Elia Accused of Soliciting Child Pornography in New Lawsuit

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  • Comedian Chris D’Elia was sued in California on Tuesday for sexual exploitation and soliciting nude photos from a minor.
  • The lawsuit alleges that D’Elia “constructed a manipulative, controlling, and abusive dynamic” in order to get dozens of nude photos from a girl he knew was 17 at the time.
  • It also says he invited the minor to his hotel room before one of his shows, where she performed sexual acts at his request.
  • D’Elia’s spokesperson denied the accusations, which come just two weeks after D’Elia addressed months-old claims that he had sexually harassed underage women. He claimed sex “controlled” his life and admitted to having “a problem” but maintained all his relationships had been consensual and legal.

Chris D’Elia Accused of Soliciting Child Pornography

A federal lawsuit filed in the Central District of California on Tuesday accuses comedian Chris D’Elia of sexual exploitation and soliciting nude photos from a minor.

The allegations stem from 2014 when Jane Doe, now 24, was just 17-years-old. The lawsuit says D’Elia, who would have been 34 at the time, “constructed a manipulative, controlling, and abusive dynamic” in order to solicit the photos and pressure Doe into sexual encounters. 

According to Doe, their interactions began in September of that year when she contacted him on Instagram, thinking he would never reply. D’Elia, however, allegedly responded to her message right away and asked her to come to one of his shows. When she agreed to see him perform at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, she says they exchanged information on Snapchat. 

Once the two started communicating on Snapchat, the lawsuit claims that the messages D’Elia sent “became sexual very quickly.” He allegedly started to ask for nude photos of her, and if she did not reply, he would persist. While she tried to avoid sending the photos, the lawsuit claims he was “aggressive.” She eventually sent him 5-10 explicit photos before she met him. 

According to the lawsuit, when D’Elia came to perform in Connecticut in November, he invited Doe to his room before the show. Because she was nervous about the situation, Doe brought a friend with her, but D’Elia allegedly demanded that the friend leave or else he would not let Doe inside. 

Doe’s friend left and the lawsuit claims that D’Elia then began to request sexual favors from Doe within minutes of her arrival. It alleges that the two had sex while D’Elia knew her age. It even adds that during the acts, he repeatedly asked her to tell him she was 17 and still in high school, with him allegedly saying that this was “hot.”

Doe says that he invited her back to his hotel after the show and they had sex again. After this, she says she left feeling “disgusting and defeated.” The lawsuit says this was her first sexual encounter of any kind and she had not even kissed anyone prior to meeting him, leaving her unsure what to think or do in the situation. 

Over the following months, the lawsuit claims that D’Elia would limit his communication with Doe as a tactic to pry more photos out of her. It says he would demand she send explicit photos or he would unfollow her on social media until she compiled. The lawsuit says that over the course of six to seven months, she sent him over 100 explicit photos and videos, roughly half of which were taken while she was a minor. 

The lawsuit says Doe “suffered significant emotional, physical, and psychological harm as a direct result of Defendant D’Elia’s predatory conduct.”

D’Elia Says He “Has A Problem”

These allegations come nearly nine months after several women accused him of sexual harassment and predatory behavior. Many said they were underage at the time he harassed them. 

After months of silence, D’Elia recently addressed those allegations in a 10-minute video on February 19. He apologized and said he had been seeking help. 

“I mean sex, it controlled my life,” he said. “It was the focus, my focus, all the time. And I had a problem. I do have a problem.” 

However, he denied ever breaking the law in his sexual encounters. 

“I stand by the fact that all my relationships have been consensual and legal,” he said. 

A spokesperson for the comedian told the Los Angeles Times that the accusations in the lawsuit are false. 

“Chris denies these allegations and will vigorously defend against them in court,” they said. 

Jane Doe is seeking unspecified damages. 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Hollywood Reporter) (USA Today)

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