BOSTON (CBS) — The U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts announced Thursday that actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in the college admissions scam.

Why did this happen now and what do the plea agreements mean for the “Full House” actress and her husband? Lawyer and WBZ-TV I-Team chief investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca broke down the plea change with CBSN Boston’s Breana Pitts.

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Is the change of plea surprising to you?

Cheryl: “Not really, because just recently their defense, the couple lost in a motion before the judge where they were trying to say that the government had maybe coerced a witness in the case. And once they lost that motion they were basically out of defenses. So these pleas were probably something that would have happened in any case.”

Can you break down for us what the guilty plea means for her and her husband?

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Cheryl: “Well all along they’ve said that they were not guilty. So this guilty plea basically changes that to say that we are guilty, we take responsibility for it, we admit that we did it and we admit that we did it intentionally. And I think that those are very significant things. In exchange for that, the government says once you admit all of that, we will not pursue any other charges against you. So that’s what they got in exchange.”

Why would the U.S. Attorney agree to the plea now?

Cheryl: “Well basically these trials are very, very expensive. They’ve already had almost two dozen people plead guilty in these cases. So it’s to their advantage to get these cases moved along and to get them out of the system. And for Lori Loughlin and her husband facing 20 years versus two months and five months in prison, paying a fine and being on probation, that’s a lot more palatable than 20 years behind bars, possibly.”

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Cheryl Fiandaca