Actress Lori Loughlin and husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, may reportedly face a civil lawsuit from the University of Southern California in the ongoing college admissions bribery scandal.
The couple are accused of paying $500,000 to “admissions consultant” Rick Singer to get their two daughters into USC as rowers.
Neither are rowers.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to federal charges, and court documents filed by prosecutors indicate that may not be their only legal battle.
“USC has suggested that Latham’s representation of Ms. Loughlin and Mr. Giannulli may conflict with USC’s interests in possible future civil litigation with these individuals,” attorney BJ Trach of Latham & Watkins said in a letter filed by prosecutors that was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Latham & Watkins represents USC on an unrelated matter, the newspaper reported.
The filings did not elaborate on the “possible future civil litigation” and neither Trach nor USC commented. However, Trach wrote in the court document that any potential conflict was “completely speculative,” CNN reported.
Prosecutors said it would be “adverse” for the firm to represent both the university and the couple. A motion filed by prosecutors, cited by USA Today, states:
“If the defendants are convicted, U.S.C. will be entitled as a matter of law to restitution and to provide a victim-impact statement, either of which defense counsel will also have an obligation on behalf of their individual clients to scrutinize and potentially challenge.”
The accusations against Loughlin and Giannulli are part of a massive scandal in which wealthy families are accused of paying some $25 million to Singer’s purported charity to facilitate their children’s entry into college. Federal prosecutors say the charity was a sham and that Singer and the parents have broken multiple laws.
Singer has already pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice, among other charges. Several parents, including actress Felicity Huffman and multiple coaches at top universities, have also pleaded guilty to various charges in connection with the scandal.
Loughlin and Giannulli are among several parents who have decided to plead not guilty.