The legal goings-on in the world of Olivia Jade Giannulli just keep getting messier.
Shortly after her mother Lori Loughlin's arrest for participating in the college admissions scandal, known by the feds as "Operation Varsity Blues," her mom rejected a plea deal that would have only required an estimated maximum of two years of jail time had she accepted the bargain.
Felicity Huffman, the other high profile celebrity name in the case, confirmed that she would plead guilty "with deep regret and shame" for her involvement in the scandal. While Huffman agreed to pay $15,000 to fix her eldest daughter's SAT scores and ensure enrollment in college, she insists that her daughter had no knowledge of the crime. The charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud could land Huffman in prison for up to 20 years.
Loughlin, on the other hand, must not have realized how serious those initial charges were, because now she and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury and hit with a separate charge of money laundering after rejecting the plea deal. With this new charge on their hands, they each face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $750,000.
And where is Olivia Jade in the middle of all this? Well, it seems that after reportedly fuming with anger at her parents for destroying her chances at a mega-deal with Sephora and toying with the idea of dropping out of the University of Southern California, she's apparently living her life like it's golden. The beauty influencer was allegedly spotted partying and filming influencer content with her fellow vloggers a couple days before her parents rejected their plea deal. Perhaps Olivia Jade is using this time to produce her inevitable comeback vlog, but lawyers and experts warn that she might want to be more careful.
Since news of the scandal broke, Olivia Jade has not posted once on Instagram or shared a new beauty vlog, but she now has over 1 million people watching her every move on Instagram, and millions more on YouTube. While her parents continue to put off their acceptance of any plea deals for the initial charges, the prosecutors might see an opportunity to put Olivia Jade on the witness stand. Per attorney Bill Moran's quotes given to New York Daily News, “If the case goes forward, these children could become subjects of an investigation themselves, and might need their own lawyers.”
Like the prosecutors assigned to this case, the general public might be wondering just how involved Olivia Jade was in the scandal while it was being orchestrated by her parents. Her mom and dad are accused of paying $500,000 to make it look like she and her sister, Isabella Giannulli, were USC crew team recruits, which required both daughters to pose with rowing equipment. Because she complied and posed in the photos, there is a very good chance that Olivia Jade could be called to the stand as a witness in her parents' plea deal, and could be viewed as complicit in the scheme. The fact that she was spotted on a USC trustee's yacht when the initial news broke last month doesn't really bode well for her future, and her old tweets and vlogs, in which she talks about how much she never really cared for school, aren't exactly helping her, either.
Cooperation is key in a case like the college admissions bribery scandal, as evidenced by Huffman's admission of guilt and acceptance of the consequences of her crimes. She faces up to two years of prison, but the actual jail time could turn out to be much lower once her criminal past is examined by attorneys and the jury. Olivia Jade's parents might not be so lucky, now that they face a whole separate charge on top of the initial two charges for their involvement in the scam. If the Giannullis end up liable for the combined $25 million paid by themselves and other parents as part of the scheme to get all of these kids into college, rather than just the $500,000 they contributed, their estimated prison time could go up.
We'll have to wait and see what fate awaits both the influencer and her parents, but for now, she might want to think about lawyering up, just in case.