Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli's lawyers slam 'baseless allegations,' deny conflict of interest motion
College admissions scandal: Lawyers for Lori Loughlin and others due in court
Prosecutors say actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband paid half a million dollars to fake their two daughters way into USC, but the celebrity couple is fighting back; Rick Leventhal reports.
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's attorneys denied a government motion to be removed from the couple's case in the college admissions scandal.
In court documents obtained by The Blast, Latham & Watkins slammed the "baseless accusations" from prosecutors and denied having a conflict of interest despite previously representing the University of Southern California (USC) in prior unrelated cases. Prosecutors reportedly filed a motion to have the firm removed from Loughlin and Giannulli's case due to their past work with the very college for which couple allegedly bribed their daughters' admissions.
Latham & Watkins argued in court papers that there is "no material risk of a potential conflict as a result of its joint representation of Giannulli and Loughlin," noting that they'd represented the couple for two decades.
"USC is not a party to this case, and its status as an alleged victim does not automatically trigger a conflict of interest requiring Latham’s withdrawal," the firm wrote. "Latham will avoid any direct adversity with USC by relying on co-counsel to handle any cross-examination of USC witnesses and any restitution proceeding in which USC’s financial interests are directly at stake."
The firm continued, "So when Giannulli and his wife, Lori Loughlin, learned that they faced federal criminal charges, they naturally turned to Latham — counsel they knew and trusted — to help them clear their names."
Giannulli, 56, and Loughlin, 54, each filed declarations affirming that despite Latham & Watkins' prior representation of USC, they still want the firm to remain on their criminal cases.
A judge has yet to rule on the motion, The Blast reported.
Giannulli and Loughlin are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to admissions scammer William "Rick" Singer to get daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella recruited to the USC crew team despite neither girl ever being a rower. Authorities allege that Loughlin and Giannulli helped create fake athletic profiles for the teens by submitting photos to Singer of their daughters posing on rowing machines.
The couple rejected the plea deal that other parents allegedly involved in the case — including Felicity Huffman — accepted, reportedly because it included jail time. They were subsequently hit with additional charges of money laundering and conspiracy. Now, they each face a total of 40 years in prison if convicted of all counts.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Loughlin and Giannulli could get dragged into potential civil disputes against USC regarding the bribery scandal engulfing the school.
Georgetown University was recently sued by the son of a Los Angeles parent who pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy. The son, Adam Semprevivo, sued the college to prevent the institution from nullifying his credits.
B.J. Trach, an attorney for Loughlin and Giannulli, told prosecutors in the letter dated May 6 that USC is worried the arrangement “may cause public embarrassment” and “adverse publicity.” The outlet shared that the letter offers “a glimpse of behind-the-scenes legal jockeying” in a case that has sent attorneys scrambling in hopes of protecting the reputations of both parents, as well as the school they allegedly defrauded. Trach did note in the letter, however, that anticipation of civil disputes is “completely speculative.”
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Attorneys for Loughlin and Giannulli did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment.
Fox News' Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.
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