Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin appear in court over admissions scam

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin appear in court over admissions scam

Pair among others charged in scheme in which, authorities say, parents paid consultant to fake children’s college test scores

 

Felicity Huffman arrives at court in Boston on Wednesday.
Felicity Huffman arrives at court in Boston on Wednesday. Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

Actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman appeared in court in Boston on Wednesday afternoon to face charges that they participated in a wide-ranging college admissions cheating scam that has rocked the US.

The actors, along with Loughlin’s fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli and dozens of others, were charged last month in a scheme in which authorities say parents paid an admissions consultant to bribe college coaches and rig test scores to get their children into elite universities.

Camera crews crowded the courthouse in anticipation of the arrival of the stars and 11 other wealthy parents accused of engaging in the schemes.

The two actors and Giannulli said little during the brief hearing in a packed federal courtroom and were not asked to enter a plea. They remain free on bail.

Neither Huffman nor Loughlin and Giannulli have publicly commented on the allegations. Huffman initially appeared in court in Los Angeles after the allegations emerged last month.

Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky on the sitcom Full House in the 1980s and 90s, and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither participated in the sport.

Giannulli, whose Mossimo clothing had long been a Target brand, is also scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Lori Loughlin is accompanied to federal court in Boston, Massachusetts on 3 April.

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Lori Loughlin is accompanied to federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, on 3 April. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

The Hallmark Channel – where Loughlin starred in popular holiday movies and the series When Calls the Heart – cut ties with Loughlin a day after her arrest.

Loughlin and Giannulli’s daughter, the social media star Olivia Jade Giannulli, has also been dropped from advertising deals with the cosmetics retailer Sephora and hair products company Tresemmé.

Huffman, the Emmy-winning star of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, is accused of paying $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation to cheat on her daughter’s college entrance exam.

Among the other parents expected in the Boston court on Wednesday is Gordon Caplan, former co-chairman of the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, based in New York.

Caplan is accused of paying $75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on his daughter’s ACT exam after she took it. Caplan’s firm said after his arrest that he has been placed on a leave of absence.

The consultant at the center of the scheme, Rick Singer, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators. The former Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith has also pleaded guilty.

Several coaches have pleaded not guilty, including tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who is accused of getting $2.7m in bribes to designate at least 12 applicants as recruits to Georgetown.

Prosecutors have been holding plea talks with 33 parents charged in the scheme. On Wednesday, packaged food entrepreneur Peter Sartorio became the first to reveal he plans to plead guilty.

Two others, California businessman Devin Sloane and marketing executive Jane Buckingham, were excused from attending Wednesday’s proceedings after disclosing they were in talks with prosecutors as well.

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