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Hollywood actresses make first court appearance in college scam

Posted at 1:10 PM, Apr 03, 2019
Actresses Felicity Huffman (left) and Lori Loughlin (right)

BOSTON – Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are free on bond after a brief first appearance in court Wednesday on charges related to the college bribery scandal that has ensnared dozens of wealthy parents.

The actresses, along with Loughlin’s fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, have not publicly commented on the allegations.

They were among 33 parents, including fellow actress Huffman, charged in what authorities have called the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted. Other parents are also expected to appear in court Wednesday.

Loughlin arrived at the courthouse, smiling as she walked in and quietly sat next to her husband and their lawyers in the front row before the hearing began.

Huffman arrived shortly after and sat next to her brother, Moore Huffman Jr.

Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky on the sitcom “Full House” in the 1980s and ’90s, and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither participated in the sport.

The Hallmark Channel where Loughlin starred in popular holiday movies and the series “When Calls the Heart” cut ties with Loughlin a day after her arrest.

Loughlin and Giannulli’s daughter, social media star Olivia Jade Giannulli, was dropped from advertising deals with cosmetics retailer Sephora and hair products company TRESemme.

Huffman, the Emmy-award winning star of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” is accused of paying $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation to cheat on her daughter’s college entrance exam.

The consultant at the center of the scheme, Rick Singer, pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators. Former Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith also pleaded guilty.

Several coaches pleaded not guilty, including tennis coach Gordon Ernst who is accused of getting $2.7 million in bribes to designate at least 12 applicants as recruits to Georgetown.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)