Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

Lori Loughlin has reportedly entered a plea of not guilty in the college admissions scandal, indicating that the actress is still attempting to avoid prison time.

ABC News reports that Loughlin filed a document with the U.S. District Court in Boston on Monday, April 15 asking the court to enter the not guilty plea on her behalf. She also asserted a right to waive her appearance at an arraignment, though a judge could still order her to appear.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were indicted after they allegedly “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”

Giannulli filed a document identical to the one his wife filed on Monday. Both Giannulli and Loughlin are facing multiple charges including conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, with the money laundering charges having been added last week after the couple did not accept a plea deal, as prosecutors were only accepting deals with prison time attached.

With the addition of the money laundering charge, the couple is facing a maximum of 40 years in prison as both charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The charges also include supervised release and fines.

A source told E! News that while Loughlin initially did not understand the severity of the accusations against her, she is now reportedly "freaking out."

"Lori is finally realizing just how serious this is," the insider said. "She is seeing the light that she will do jail time and is freaking out."

"She has been in complete denial and thought maybe she could skate by," the source added. "She refused to accept any jail time and thought the DA was bluffing. She was adamant she wouldn't do any jail time."

Despite her charges, a source told PEOPLE that Loughlin believes she was just doing what any parent would have done in her situation.

“From the beginning, she didn’t want to take a deal, because she felt that she hadn’t done anything that any mom wouldn’t have done, if they had the means to do so,” the source said. “So this wasn’t her being obstinate; this was her truly not understanding the seriousness of the allegations.”

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“It’s just taking some time for it to sink in that what she was allegedly doing could be considered illegal,” the insider continued. “To her, it wasn’t egregious behavior. Was it entitled and perhaps selfish? Perhaps. But she didn’t see it as being a legal violation.”

Photo Credit: Getty / Boston Globe