According to a letter from the couple’s attorney filed in federal court, the “Fuller House” actress and the fashion designer could face legal disputes with the University of Southern California (USC) over the couple’s alleged role in the college admissions scam.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday the letter doesn’t indicate whether USC is considering suing Loughlin, 54, and Giannulli, 56, or if the university expects to be sued. However, the letter does show the couple’s attorney dismissed anticipation of civil disputes as “completely speculative.”
USC, as well as BJ Trach, an attorney for the couple, did not respond to a request for comment.
The outlet shared that Georgetown, another university involved in the scandal, was recently sued by the son of a Los Angeles parent who pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy. The son, Adam Semprevivo, is suing to prevent Georgetown from nullifying his credits.
Trach 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.
Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty in April to charges that they paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into USC. The couple is among 50 prominent parents, athletic coaches and others charged in a sweeping college admissions bribery scam that has embroiled elite schools across the country, including Stanford, Georgetown and Yale.
Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with paying bribes to have their daughters designated as crew recruits to USC, even though neither of them is a rower. Authorities say Loughlin and Giannulli helped create fake athletic profiles for the teens by submitting photos to admissions consultant Rick Singer of their teens posing on rowing machines.
After their older daughter was admitted to USC, authorities say Giannulli sent Singer an email with the subject line, “Trojan happiness,” thanking him for his “efforts and end result!”
Their daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli – a social media star who has a popular YouTube channel – was dropped from deals with cosmetics retailer Sephora and hair products company TRESemme after her parents’ arrest.
If convicted on all charges, Loughlin and Giannulli each face up to 40 years behind bars.
The Los Angeles Times revealed that out of 33 parents named in an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston in March of this year, more than half are accused of conspiring to bribe their way into USC.
Federal investigators are reportedly now exploring whether Pat Haden, the former USC athletic director, was involved in the scandal. In response, Haden issued a statement on Wednesday through his son-in-law Donnie Dixon Haden.
“Like many people, I was introduced to Mr. Singer several years ago by a friend,” read the statement. “I was unaware of his illegal activities and had no ongoing relationship with him whatsoever.”
Donnie added that his father-in-law had not “been contacted by or spoken to federal authorities.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.