- 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.
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.
Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” Joe Lycett said in a video.
Pressure on Beckham
Comedian Joe Lycett posted a video on Sunday saying he would shred £10,000 if soccer star David Beckham does not pull out of his deal to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.
Ahead of the event, which kicks off on Nov. 20, many have been raising concerns about human rights abuses in Qatar. The country criminalizes homosexuality, and it can be punishable by death.
Beckham’s deal to represent the country was reportedly worth £10 million, and many are frustrated that the athlete took such a big check from a country with known anti-LGBTQ laws. In his video, Lycett noted that Beckham has been openly supportive of his gay fans and was the first premiere footballer to do a photoshoot with a gay magazine.
In an attempt to get Beckham to bow out of his role, Lycett, who is pansexual, offered an ultimatum.
“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football,” he stated. “However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder.”
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.”
Beckham’s Reputation “Shredded”
Lycett said he would livestream the money shredding if that’s what the situation comes to. If Beckham does not back out of the World Cup, Lycett noted he will be forced to “commit what might be a crime,” as destroying legal tender is against the law in the U.K.
“Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha,” Lycett quipped.
Lycett then linked to a website titled https://benderslikebeckham.com/, which includes a written version of his message, as well as a countdown to when he will either shred the cash or send it to a non-profit.
Lycett is not the only U.K star to raise concerns about issues in Qatar. Singer Dua Lipa shut down speculation that she would be performing at the World Cup over the weekend by saying she has no intentions to visit the country until “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host” the event.
Other stars, however, including BTS’s Jung Kook, are slated to take the stage.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hollywood Reporter) (BBC News)
Federal Judge Dismisses Dave Portnoy’s Lawsuit Against Insider
The online personality called the decision “disappointing” but not “overly surprising.”
A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a defamation lawsuit Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy filed against Business Insider, several outlets reported on Monday.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV decided that Portnoy did not successfully prove that the news outlet acted with “actual malice” or “reckless disregard for the truth” when it published two articles about his sexual relationships.
The first article, published in Nov. 2021, detailed stories from women who said they had “violent” and traumatizing sex with Portnoy. A second piece was published in Feb. 2022 and includes sources who said Portnoy filmed sexual encounters without consent.
Portnoy has repeatedly denied the allegations and maintained that the sexual encounters were consensual and positive. He sued Insider in February following the publication of the second article.
Per The Post, Saylor tossed the complaint because it did “not allege that Insider’s anonymous sources were fake, or that the articles misrepresented what the women told [Insider’s reporters].”
“Furthermore, plaintiff admits that Insider investigated its first article for months, requested an interview with him, sought his comment before publication, included his denials, and hyperlinked to his news conference and his lawyer’s full denial letter,” the judge’s decision continued.
Saylor also noted that Insider corroborated their sources’ claims with photos, texts, medical reports, receipts, and accounts from their friends.
While Portnoy argued that these stories were an invasion of privacy as they pertained to his private sex life and the women involved were not his employees, Insider held that their claims were relevant.
“When a rich, famous, and powerful person uses their power in a way that is harmful to other people, it is newsworthy,” Nicholas Carlson, Insider’s Global Editor-in-Chief, previously wrote in an editor’s note.
Saylor largely agreed with that, saying that issues of consent and power are part of “legitimate public interest,” including in instances that arise outside “the employment context.”
An Insider spokesperson told The Post that the outlet is “pleased and gratified that the judge dismissed his complaint.”
“We knew from the start that our reporting was careful, fair, and accurate, but it’s gratifying to see that validated in court,” Julia Black, one of the reporters named in the lawsuit, tweeted in response to the news.
For his part, however, Portnoy has criticized the judge’s decision, calling it “disappointing” but not “overly surprising.”
“Every single lawyer said it was an uphill battle, every legal expert said it was an uphill battle, that it’s almost impossible for a public figure to prove defamation,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “The laws are stacked against me.”
Portnoy said that he turned in texts and other evidence he believed would prove the sexual encounters were positive but claimed “the judge didn’t even really look at the evidence.”
He later read an excerpt from the judge’s decision that said Portnoy “can’t seek to prove actual malice by challenging statements that defendants did not publish.”
“In other words: Business Insider did not publish any of my shit, I can’t talk about it, it’s not part of the case,” Portnoy explained. “It’s inadmissible.”
He said he could appeal the decision if he wanted, but added he was not optimistic about how that would turn out for him. He floated the idea of suing the sources themselves, noting he thinks he would stand a better chance in such a case.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post)
Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, and More Sign Letter in Support of Restricting Rap Lyrics as Evidence
The letter claims the use of this evidence is a “racially targeted practice” that “punishes already marginalized communities and their stories.”
“Protect Black Art”
Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, and a slew of other major artists signed an open letter on Tuesday calling for politicians to restrict the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court.
The letter, titled “Art on Trial: Protect Black Art,” argues that “more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalize Black creativity and artistry.”
It follows statements from other advocates who claim that police and prosecutors are eager to interpret rap literally instead of treating it as a creative form of expression. By doing so, critics say they ignore the storytelling techniques, figurative language, and hyperbole that are often used in the genre, and weaponize those lyrics against their creators.
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill that aims to limit the use of rap lyrics in court by requiring prosecutors to prove lyrics meet certain criteria and do not display a racial bias before submitting them. State legislators in New York are also weighing a bill with similar goals, and on the federal level, a bill titled the “RAP Act” was introduced in Congress over the summer.
Tuesday’s letter urged state and federal politicians to pass these bills and others like it. It also encouraged prosecutors to drop the practice voluntarily.
Jack Harlow, Future, DJ Khaled, Camilla Cabello, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Normani, Travis Scott, and Christina Aguilera were among the slew of other stars who signed the letter. Record labels like Warner, Universal, and Def Jam joined the list, as did platforms like Spotify, Tidal, TikTok, and YouTube Music.
Rap in Court
According to Warner Music Group, experts have found over 500 cases where rap was used as evidence, and that is likely an undercount as several kinds of cases and proceedings were excluded from that figure. On the other hand, those experts found only four instances since the 1950s where non-rap lyrics were used as evidence, and three of those cases were tossed while the other was overturned after conviction.
The letter used Young Thug and members of the Young Stoner Life label, who are currently facing dozens of charges, including ones that accuse the label of being a criminal gang, as an example of this issue.
“The allegations rely heavily on the artists’ lyrics, which prosecutors claim are ‘overt evidence of conspiracy,’” the letter said. “In the indictment, Fulton County prosecutors argue that lyrics like ‘I get all type of cash, I’m a general,’ are a confession of criminal intent.”
The letter claims that using an artist’s words against them in this manner is “un-American” and “simply wrong.”
“Beyond the obvious disregard for free speech and creative expression protected by the First Amendment, this racially targeted practice punishes already marginalized communities and their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph,” it continues.
Julie Greenwald, Chairman & CEO of Atlantic Music Group, released a statement arguing that the freedom for musicians to form characters and narratives is “essential to the creative process and the role of art in society.”
“The harsh reality is that Black artistic creativity is being threatened at an unprecedented level, and we must make every effort to stop this unethical, discriminatory approach to prosecution,” Greenwald added.