A couple of days ago, I read the news that actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli have decided to enter guilty pleas to paying $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade, and Isabella into the University of Southern California. The two, who have constantly been in the news since March 2019, initially pleaded not guilty to the crimes for which they are accused. Loughlin and Giannulli have both been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Giannulli has also been charged with honest services wire and mail fraud.
Prosecutors also accused the couple of money laundering and federal programs bribery, but in exchange for their guilty pleas, prosecutors have agreed to drop the money laundering and bribery charges. Before this deal was hatched, Loughlin and Giannulli were facing the possibility of spending many years in prison. Now, provided that the judge, Nathaniel Gorton, accepts their guilty pleas, Loughlin will likely spend two months in prison and Giannulli will spend five months. In addition, they will each pay fines– $150,000 for Loughlin and $250,000 for Giannulli, and do community service– 100 hours for Loughlin and 250 for Giannulli. They will also be on supervised probation for two years. So far, Judge Gorton has said he needs to consider the pre-sentencing report.
A lot of people think the proposed sentences are much too light. I’ve read a number of comments about how this couple is “privileged” and getting off because they are wealthy white people. And you know what? That’s probably true. It’s not fair. However, my personal feeling is that even though the sentences are very light, they’re still really going to suck for Loughlin and Giannulli. They haven’t done anything violent, so they aren’t a danger to other people. And they will never repeat this crime, since their daughters are now grown and have been exposed.
I’m not sure what people expect wealthy people to do in these situations. What would make this better and be just? Do people expect Lori Loughlin and her husband to just lose everything? If the people commenting were ever in Lori Loughlin’s shoes, would they volunteer to ruin their own lives out of contrition? People make mistakes, and this was a whopper of one. But in the grand scheme of things, this situation is kind of a minor thing. No one was hurt or killed. The worst that happened is that a couple of potential USC students didn’t get a fair shot at a place at a prestigious university. And that really sucks for people who work very hard, but aren’t blessed with wealth, fame, and good looks. But it’s not like someone died.
Does a longer stay in prison for Loughlin and Giannulli really serve society? What can they do for society when they sit in prison? I don’t think they can do much. But on the outside of prison, they can do community service and pay fines that will help someone. Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience of being locked up for a few months, but aside from that, I can’t see how their being behind bars is going to make the world a better place.
For the life of me, I don’t understand the obsession some people have with punishing people by locking them up for many years on end. I don’t think that warehousing people in prison is a good idea, unless the person being warehoused is a true threat to other people or their property. I mean, if someone repeatedly commits burglary or burns down buildings, I can see putting them in prison for that. But imprisoning people non violent crimes, particularly when no one was actually injured or killed, can ruin lives. I’d rather see people remain employable and accessible to their families, who also suffer when a loved one is incarcerated.
I admire the way Felicity Huffman handled her punishment for bribing a college official. She owned up to it immediately, pleaded guilty, paid a fine, and did her eleven days (down from fourteen) in prison. She’s doing community service and keeping a low profile. The news that has come out about her recently has been good. I think she’ll make a full recovery and we’ll see her acting again before too long. She will be able to put this behind her.
I don’t think Lori Loughlin and her husband were very smart in how they handled their situation. I get that they didn’t want to go to prison. Who does? But if they had just admitted what they did and made amends, this would be over much sooner. And then we could see “Aunt Becky” back on the small screen, flashing her pearly whites and being cute. Unfortunately, I think it will take a lot longer for her to recover from this mess because it’s been in the news for over a year.
I’m sure a lot of people think this deal is lame because it does seem like such a light sentence. And maybe if Lori Loughlin weren’t a rich, white woman, she might have gotten a stiffer sentence. On the other hand, if Lori Loughlin weren’t a rich woman, she probably wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. Anyway, given all that is going on in the world right now, I don’t think we need to lock up people who aren’t going to be threatening others. I think this sentence is just. I also think it’s time this case was no longer news. So here’s hoping that Judge Gorton makes his final decision quickly and Loughlin and Giannulli can hurry up and do their time. I think I’m as ready to put this story behind me as Loughlin and Giannulli are.