Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman appear in court in college admissions bribery case

Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman appeared Wednesday in a federal courthouse in Boston to face charges that they participated in a college admissions bribery scheme.

Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, Huffman and several others were arrested and charged last month on suspicion of paying an admissions consultant to bribe college coaches and rig test scores to get their children into elite universities. Court records show several of the accused parents, including Giannulli and the actresses, are scheduled Wednesday to make initial appearances in court.

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT April 3: Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli appeared Wednesday in court.

Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli agreed to waive their preliminary hearings, CNN reported.

Update 2 p.m. EDT April 3: Loughlin waved at fans and supporters after appearing Wednesday afternoon at a federal courthouse in Boston ahead of her initial appearance in court, WFXT reported.

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 3: Huffman appeared Wednesday morning at a federal courthouse in Boston ahead of her first scheduled appearance, WFXT reported.

She declined to comment as she walked into the courthouse.

Original report: Prosecutors said that from 2011 through February 2019, parents paid an admissions consultant to bribe coaches to label their children as recruited athletes, to alter test scores and to have others take online classes to boost their children's chances of getting into schools.

Parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee the admission of their children, officials said.

Prosecutors said Giannulli and Loughlin, who is best known for her portrayal of Aunt Becky on the sitcom “Full House” and its sequel “Fuller House,” agreed to pay $500,000 in bribes to have their daughters labeled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, though neither participated in the sport.

After the allegations surfaced, Hallmark announced it was dropping Loughlin, who had been a longtime star of Hallmark Channel movies and series. Cosmetics retailer Sephora and hair products company TRESemme also ended partnerships with Loughlin’s and Giannulli’s daughter, social media influencer Olivia Jade Giannulli.

Huffman, the Emmy-winning star of "Desperate Housewives," is accused of paying $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation to cheat on her daughter's college entrance exam.

At least nine college athletic coaches were also charged as part of the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, authorities said.

The consultant at the center of the scheme, Rick Singer, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators. Former Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith has also pleaded guilty.

Several coaches have pleaded not guilty, including tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who is accused of accepting $2.7 million in bribes to designate at least 12 applicants as recruits to Georgetown University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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