Coronavirus: Lori Loughlin could serve ‘less time’ in prison due to COVID-19

Lori Loughlin could end up spending less time in prison because of the coronavirus pandemic, a lawyer recently told Yahoo! News.

What’s the news:

  • Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal on Thursday. The couple pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
  • Loughlin will reportedly be sentenced to two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised released with 100 hours of community service.

How COVID-19 could play a role:

  • According to Yahoo! News, Loughlin will meet with a judge via teleconfernece Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic. The judge will need to accept the guilty plea. The prison sentence will begin no earlier than 90 days after the final judgement.
  • Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Lisa Houle told Yahoo! News that such an agreement isn’t uncommon.
  • “It is not unusual for defendants and their attorneys to include language consistent with what they have agreed to with the prosecutors,” she explained. “Essentially, Loughlin is asking to delay her surrender date for three months after her guilty plea is entered. A surrender date is when a defendant actually goes into custody to begin serving their sentence.
  • “The delay between entry of a guilty plea and surrender is oftentimes used to ‘get one’s affairs in order.’ She may also have requested that delay to wait for COVID to be more under control. Or, she may have asked for the delay in order to stagger her sentence beyond her husband serving his time.”

Does the deal make sense?

Shima Baradaran Baughman, a professor of law at the University of Utah College of Law, told the Deseret News that Loughlin and Giannulli got good deals in the scandal.

  • She said: “Given how this case started, and the public outrage, I think Loughlin and her husband ended up with a pretty reasonable deal.”
  • “If I were charging, I would have preferred to see higher restitution payments and no incarceration given that incarceration just costs the state money and has no real positive benefits.”

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