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Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli could end up in a court fight with USC

Legal battle apart from admissions scandal charges
Posted at 8:40 AM, Jun 07, 2019

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, could end up in legal disputes with the University of Southern California, where their daughters were accepted as an alleged part of the sweeping college admissions scandal, court records show.

Any civil action by or against the couple, however, is "completely speculative" at this point, an attorney for the couple wrote last month.

His letter, filed Thursday into the court record, came in response to a request by federal prosecutors for a hearing on possible conflicts of interest among law firms involved in the high-profile case.

Loughlin and Giannulli are among dozens of wealthy parents accused of using bribery to game the competitive college admissions process. Prosecutors say they paid $500,000 to a fake charity to get their two daughters into USC, falsely designating them as crew team recruits.

Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Loughlin and Giannulli are represented in the criminal case by the law firm Latham & Watkins, which represents USC in an unrelated matter, court documents show. Prosecutors cited the circumstances as possibly posing a conflict of interest in the future.

"USC has suggested that Latham's representation of Ms. Loughlin and Mr. Giannulli may conflict with USC's interests in possible future civil litigation with these individuals," attorney William Trach wrote.

"But any such future civil litigation is completely speculative, Latham is not proposing to represent Ms. Loughlin or Mr. Giannulli in any such civil litigation, USC has never articulated how Latham's representation of the defendants in this case would bear on any such civil litigation," he wrote.

The letter also asserts that concerns that either party may seek to overturn a criminal conviction by claiming ineffective counsel is not realistic.

"Having carefully reviewed the applicable ethical rules and precedent in light of the substance and scope of our representations, our firm has concluded that there is no current or foreseeable conflict of interest, and that we have taken appropriate steps to avoid any such conflict of interest arising in the course of the case," Trach wrote.

He also noted that both Loughlin and Giannulli have co-counsel who can represent them if they need to cross-examine a university employee.

USC and other attorneys for Loughlin and Giannulli did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.