Did Lori Loughlin take some bad legal advice? Before the Full House star and husband Mossimo Giannulli faced additional charges in their college admissions scandal case, they were reportedly "in denial" about potential jail time "based on her legal team's confidence."
“Her attorney told her not to take the deal,” a source told Us Weekly before the couple were hit with new charges on April 9, referring to the plea deal that others involved in the scandal, including Felicity Huffman, took.
After Loughlin and Giannulli refused to take a plea deal, they were hit with an additional money laundering charge. Earlier this week, they pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
Legal coach and crisis manager Wendy Feldman told Us Weekly that Loughlin and designer had "no choice but to plead not guilty."
"They missed the opportunity for a plea bargain during the first round, and now there might not be a deal available for them to take," Feldman said.
Los Angeles-based lawyer Neama Rahmani agreed and said that Loughlin sealed her fate by ignoring the plea deal. “I don’t know what she was thinking,” Rahmani said. “The feds have an overwhelming amount of evidence against her, including emails, phone calls and financial documents.”
A legal source told PEOPLE that Loughlin is "very afraid" for her and Giannulli's daughters' sake, should the case head to trial.
“Lori is very concerned about what a trial will do to her daughters,” the source said. “It will undermine every accomplishment they have in the future and it will be part of their story forever.”
“It’s not in their best interest for this to go to trial, and Lori knows it. Because if it goes to trial, the girls will have to take the stand, and be cross examined by a prosecution that wants nothing more than to put a notch on their belt,” the source said. “Lori is very afraid that her daughters will have to testify. That will traumatize them even more."
Loughlin and Giannulli were named as two of 50 people charged in the scandal, along with coaches, admissions counselors and other parents who are accused of alleged crimes like falsifying SAT scores and lying about the athletic abilities of their children to grant them admission into elite universities.
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to falsely designate their daughters as recruits to the USC crew team, despite the fact they did not participate in crew.
Meanwhile, Huffman pleaded guilty in a plea deal last week, admitting her guilt and apologizing for her actions.
"I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community," she said in her statement.
"I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly," she said.