BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin appeared in federal court Wednesday alongside other wealthy parents to face charges they rigged test scores or paid bribes to cheat the admissions process at prestigious universities.
The actresses and Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, said little during the brief hearing in a packed Boston courtroom and were not asked to enter a plea. They are all free on bail.
Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli, whose Mossimo clothing had long been a Target brand, have not publicly commented on the allegations.
Huffman arrived at the courthouse late Wednesday morning, hours before the hearing was scheduled to begin. Loughlin arrived later to a large crowd of media, police and fans – and someone who yelled “pay for my tuition, Lori!”
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-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.
Among the other parents in court Wednesday was Gordon Caplan, former co-chairman of the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, based in New York.
Caplan is accused of paying $75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on his daughter’s ACT exam after she took it. Caplan’s firm said after his arrest that he has been placed on a leave of absence.
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’s accused of getting $2.7 million in bribes to designate at least 12 applicants as recruits to Georgetown.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)