In March, 50 people were charged for their suspected participation in a large effort by wealthy parents to illegally get their children admitted to elite colleges. They lied about extracurriculars, doctored test scores, and pretended to be on sports teams. Among the accused are celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who made their initial court appearance on Wednesday in Boston. They face prison time if they plead guilty or are convicted.
The nature of the actresses’ alleged involvement varies. Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the scam, to hire a proctor to adjust Huffman’s daughter’s answers on the SAT. Meanwhile Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying Singer $500,000 to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, into the University of Southern California as members of the crew team.
Singer has already pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges, but Loughlin and Huffman have yet to enter pleas. Here’s what we know about their trial so far.
Loughlin signed autographs before her court date on Wednesday
As Huffington Post put it, Loughlin “got a red carpet-style welcome” and signed 15 to 20 autographs outside Boston Logan International Airport, ahead of her court date.
When she was caught by paparrazzi leaving a yoga class a few days earlier, the star politely replied to photographers, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you.”
“You can follow me around all day if you want,” she said, “but I just can’t comment right now. But thank you for your time.”
Loughlin and Huffman were among 10 other parents to appear in federal court
They appeared before Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley on Wednesday in Boston, Massachusetts.
Upon entering the courthouse, Loughlin “remained upbeat,” according to PEOPLE. She wore a tan wide-legged pantsuit and a gray T-shirt. She “smiled and laughed when someone made a joke about the elevator getting stuck,” according to PEOPLE. Giannulli wore a navy suit and a green tie.
They waived their right for a preliminary hearing during the six-minute long hearing. They also agreed to surrender their passports.
Huffman got to the courthouse around 3 hours early. She wore a black blazer and a turquoise button-down. Her husband, William H. Macy, was not in attendance.
During Huffman’s three-minute hearing, she agreed to the same conditions as Loughlin and Giannulli.
Another court date for them has not been set
Loughlin, Giannulli, and Huffman have not entered pleas. The maximum potential sentence that Loughlin and Huffman could each face is 20 years. If either plead guilty or are convicted, they likely face between six and 21 months in prison, according to CNN.
Some parents are likely to plead guilty in the coming weeks.
That’s according to The New York Times. One parent, Peter Jan Sartorio, said in a filing on Wednesday that he intends to plead guilty. He is accused of paying Singer $15,000 to assist chaeting on his daughter’s college exam.
Four other defendants involved in the scandal have already plead guilty and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution, including Singer, Mark Riddell (who allegedly cheated on tests for students), former Yale University women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith, and Stanford’s former sailing coach John Vandemoer.