As Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in jail, Lori Loughlin wonders what her future holds
As news spread that Felicity Huffman had been sentenced to 14 days behind bars for her role in the college admissions scandal, one of the other defendants was paying close attention to the proceedings.
Lori Loughlin, who has also been implicated in the scandal, was watching very closely on Friday to see whether Huffman got any time in jail, according to a source close to the Full House star.
“Lori is aware of Felicity’s sentence, and is processing what that means for her,” the source tells PEOPLE. “Her only move now is to take this to court and to prove that she is not guilty of what she’s charged with.”
On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that it had charged 50 people — including Huffman and Loughlin — in the cheating scandal. The two actresses, along with coaches, admissions counselors, parents, and Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, were indicted on accusations of falsifying SAT scores and lying about their children’s athletic skills, among other alleged crimes.
But in many ways, Huffman and Loughlin’s cases are very different.
Loughlin, 54, allegedly gave $500,000 to have her daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, designated as crew team recruits for USC, even though they had never rowed, the indictment alleged.
Prosecutors alleged in the original criminal complaint against the couple that Loughlin paid $500,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), which prosecutors said was actually a front for accepting bribes. Singer has since admitted his role as the ringleader of the scam and has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.
Huffman, however, only paid $15,000 to Singer, who then facilitated cheating on Huffman’s daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers after the fact.
Because the dollar amounts are different, Huffman, 56, faced less jail time than Loughlin — and she received a more lenient sentence after she pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. In addition to the 14 days of incarceration, the judge fined her $30,000 and said she would be on supervised release for one year. She will also have to do 250 hours of community service.
Meanwhile, Loughlin rejected a plea deal after her arrest. She and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty.
“If she’s found guilty, she will go to jail; that is clear,” the source says. “And if another deal is offered to her, which I don’t think it will be, she will go to jail. Her only chance of avoiding jail is to beat these charges. Lori is a smart woman; she understands that. 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.”
According to the source close to Loughlin, she “regrets” not taking a deal. “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,” the source says. “It was very early, and she didn’t have all the information that she has now. 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.”
“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.”