Advertisement

Mossimo Giannulli loses bid to finish prison term at home

Mossimo Giannulli departs federal court in Boston after facing charges in a the college admissions bribery scandal.
Clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli departs federal court in Boston in April 2019 after facing charges in a the college admissions bribery scandal.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli’s request to serve the remaining three months of his prison term in the college admissions bribery scheme at home was denied Tuesday by a federal judge.

Giannulli argued that he should be released to home confinement for the rest of his five-month sentence because he spent eight weeks under “extreme” conditions in solitary confinement owing to the COVID-19 pandemic after reporting to prison Nov. 19.

But U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said Giannulli failed to demonstrate an “‘extraordinary and compelling’ reason warranting his release,” though he noted that the quarantine had been “longer than anticipated.”

Giannulli’s wife, “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, was released last month after spending two months at a federal lockup in Dublin, Calif. Loughlin’s attorneys and prosecutors agreed that she could start her sentence early, and Loughlin promised that she would not seek early release on pandemic-related grounds.

Advertisement

Giannulli believed that he would be held in quarantine for only a short time before testing negative for the coronavirus, his lawyers said in court documents. Instead, he spent 56 days isolated in a small cell in the federal prison in Lompoc, Calif., before being transferred to a minimum-security camp Jan. 13, they said.

“Mr. Giannulli spent almost 40% of his total sentence confined in solitary quarantine, despite testing negative for COVID-19 at least 10 times and despite his counsel’s multiple requests that [the federal Bureau of Prisons] release him from quarantine,” his lawyers wrote in a motion filed earlier this month.

The nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak in a prison is at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, where 69 inmates and 25 staff members are infected.

“The toll on Mr. Giannulli’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being has been significant,” they added.

Advertisement

An email seeking comment was sent to Giannulli’s lawyers.

All incoming federal inmates are held in quarantine for at least 14 days to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Giannulli’s quarantine was supposed to end Dec. 7, but on that day, several other inmates in his quarantine unit tested positive, the judge noted. Soon after, Giannulli reported a headache and lost his sense of smell, so officials extended his quarantine, the judge wrote.

Giannulli is scheduled to be released April 17.

As they await sentencing in the college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli sell their Bel-Air mansion for $18.75 million.

Advertisement

Giannulli and Loughlin pleaded guilty in May to paying half a million dollars to get their two daughters into USC as crew recruits even though neither girl was a rower.

They are among nearly 60 parents, coaches and others charged in the case, which federal prosecutors dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” It uncovered hefty bribes to get undeserving kids into college with rigged test scores or fake athletic credentials.

Loughlin and Giannulli had insisted for more than a year that they believed their payments were “legitimate donations” and accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove their innocence.

Prosecutors said Giannulli deserved a tougher sentence because he was “the more active participant in the scheme,” while Loughlin “took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit.”


Advertisement
Advertisement