Last month, Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days behind bars for her involvement in the college admissions scandal. As Lori Loughlin gears up for her own court appearance, it seems unlikely the Fuller House actress will get off with a similar sentencing to Huffman, should she be found guilty for her involvement in the bribery scheme. In fact, the prosecutors have even admitted they will seek a "substantially higher" prison sentence for Loughlin.
"If she is convicted, I don't think I'm giving away any state secrets by saying we would probably ask for a higher sentence for her than we did for Felicity Huffman," U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said during a rare interview. "I can't tell you exactly what that would be."
"The longer the case goes, let's say she goes through to trial, if it's after trial, I think certainly we'd be asking for something substantially higher," Lelling continued. "If she resolved her case short of trial, something a little lower than that. It's tough to tell at this point."
While Huffman paid to have her daughter's SAT score altered, Loughlin allegedly had her children pose as fake recruits for the USC rowing team. U.S. Distrct Judge Indira Talwani has, so far, handed out harsher sentences for parents, like Loughlin, who had their children tagged as recruits. According to the judge, she believes the recruitment scheme actively took away a specific seat from a deserving student, according to USA Today.
Lelling also went on to call Huffman "probably the least culpable of the defendants" in his interview. Not only did she pay one of the lowest amounts in the scheme, Lelling said the Desperate Housewives actress had "a few things working in her favor," including pleading guilty, cooperating with the investigation and showing genuine remorse, that helped her earn a lighter sentence.
"She took responsibility almost immediately. She was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct," Lelling explained. "I think she handled it in a very classy way. And so, at the end of the day, we thought the one month was proportional. I think the two weeks that she actually got was also reasonable. I think we were happy with that. I think it was a thoughtful sentence.
"If people take responsibility for their conduct and they take responsibility for their conduct early on, then it will probably go better for them," he continued. "What I value in the Felicity Huffman sentence is that I think it sent a clear message to other parents involved that there really is a good chance that if you're convicted of the offense, you're going to go to prison for some period of time."
Loughlin, who did not plead guilty, faces 40 years in prison.