Los Angeles - Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman have hired big-name law firms to represent them in the US college admissions cheating scandal.
Huffman was initially represented by Hollywood's top criminal defence attorney, Blair Berk, but because the case is in Boston, she will be defended by Marty Murphy of Foley Hoag, while Loughlin is represented by Perry Viscounty of Latham & Watkins.
Both Loughlin and Huffman made brief court appearances last week in Los Angeles after being arrested and are expected back in court later this month in Boston.
The actresses are among dozens swept up in the scandal. The scheme centered on the owner of a for-profit Newport Beach college admissions company, which wealthy parents are accused of paying to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and which allegedly falsified athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools - including UCLA, Stanford, Yale, the University of Southern California and Georgetown - according to court records.
Huffman is accused of disguising a 15,000-dollar charitable payment in the bribery scheme, according to court records. Prosecutors alleged she met with a confidential witness who explained that he could control an SAT [college admissions test] testing center and arrange for someone to proctor her daughter's test and correct it.
Huffman's older daughter took the test in December 2017 and received a score of 1420. That was a 400-point improvement from her first test. In October, Huffman was recorded by the FBI allegedly discussing participating in the same scheme for her younger daughter; however, she did not ultimately pursue it.
Last week, her attorney at the time declined to comment.
Loughlin, of "Full House" fame, and Huffman, whose credits include the hit ABC show "Desperate Housewives," are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
According to court records, Loughlin and her husband, J. Mossimo Giannulli, the creator of clothing brand Mossimo, "agreed to pay bribes totalling 500 000 dollars in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team" even though they did not participate in crew.