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Not Even a Global Pandemic Can Stop Lori Loughlin’s Trial


Despite a global pandemic, Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli’s trial must go on. That’s what U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said in a straightforward Tuesday order.

“This judicial officer hereby determines that all pre-established pre-trial deadline in the above-captioned case continue to apply,” Gorton said. “Any motion for an extension of time will be considered on an individualized basis and granted only for good cause shown.”

Loughlin and Giannulli’s lawyers in the college admissions scandal, Sean Berkowitz and William Trach, responded on Wednesday to the judge’s order; they asked for an extension of time. They cited the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and orders to “shelter in place”:

Furthermore, as a result of the spread of COVID-19, nearly all members of the defense team are under orders to shelter in place or are required to work remotely, which has made it more difficult for defense counsel to coordinate review of the material produced by the government, and seek input and approval from all Defendants for the consolidated submission.

Given the volume and timeline of the discovery produced by the Government, along with the extraordinary circumstances arising from the rapid spread of COVID-19, Defendants respectfully request that the Court extend the deadline for filing the submission by three business days, from Friday, March 20, 2020, until Wednesday, March 25, 2020. oppose this request.

Most recently, Loughlin and Giannulli accused the FBI of coercing lies. They also accused prosecutors of withholding exculpatory evidence.

The defense lawyers said that the exculpatory evidence issue was one of the reasons they needed extra time.

“Further, Defendants respectfully submit this request to file a consolidated over-length brief. As grounds for this motion, the Defendants state that additional pages are necessary to address the numerous issues raised by the Government’s recent disclosure of exculpatory material in one submission that adequately addresses the concerns specific to each of the Defendants,” the Wednesday filing said.

In any event, the defense said, prosecutors don’t oppose the extension.

Judge Gorton is, indeed, considered to be one of the tougher judges when it comes to sentencing in the District of Massachusetts--and defense attorneys for Varsity Blues clients have accused prosecutors of “judge-shopping” by steering cases to Gorton. Gorton has shown time and again that his views on these cases differ from another judge who has handed out sentences.

Gorton called both Toby MacFarlane and Douglas Hodge a “common thief” at sentencing.

Loughlin and Giannulli face 12 criminal counts, including: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud; conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery; money laundering conspiracy; wire fraud and honest services wire fraud; aiding and abetting; federal programs bribery; aiding and abetting.

Lori Loughlin order by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Image via JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.