Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, will be able to continue using a law firm that recently represented the University of Southern California, which is an alleged victim in the sweeping college admissions bribery case, a federal judge allowed.
But Magistrate Judge M Page Kelley declined to rule on a different potential conflict of interest in the couple’s legal representation and said she would decide later, calling it more serious.
Giannulli, who created the Mossimo clothing brand, and Loughlin, who starred on TV’s ‘Full House’, mostly sat quietly through the brief proceedings in Boston federal court.
They spoke up only to answer a series of short answer questions from the judge, acknowledging they each understood the legal risk of retaining the firms and the risks of being represented by the same firm. Neither commented after the hearing.
The couple are accused of paying $500,000 (Dh1.83 million) to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the USC crew team, even though neither participated in the sport. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.
Lawyers for the Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins law firm, which Loughlin and Giannulli have retained for representation, said that it represented USC in an unrelated real estate case that had been handled by different lawyers.
Prosecutors had argued that retaining the firm could pose a serious conflict, especially if the firm’s lawyers questioned USC officials at trial or gathered information from the university during the case’s discovery phase.
But in court Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen acknowledged that USC, as of this month, was no longer a client.