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Lori Loughlin pleads guilty via Zoom in admissions scandal

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American actress Lori Loughlin on Friday accepted potential prison time by pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with her role in a sprawling college admissions scandal.

Loughlin — best known for her role as Aunt Becky in the 1980s-90s hit sitcom “Full House” — and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among 50 people indicted in an elaborate scam to secure spots for already privileged children at prestigious US universities.

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The pair — both dressed in dark attire — appeared stoic as they switched previous “not guilty” pleas in a virtual hearing with a Massachusetts federal judge, accepting a deal with prosecutors that could significantly lighten their punishments.

The proceedings took place via Zoom video conference, due to the coronavirus pandemic that has shut courthouses across the United States.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, were accused of paying $500,000 to gain admission for their two daughters at the University of Southern California as recruits to the crew team — a sport neither had ever trained in.

Loughlin was among the most high-profile personalities indicted in the case. She and her husband were initially charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, bribery and transfer funds in the far-reaching scam.

Those charges could carry penalties of up to 45 years in prison.

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– Ringleader cooperating –

If federal judge Nathaniel Gorton accepts their pleas, prosecutors will drop the charges of money laundering and bribery, and recommend a sentence of two months in prison for Loughlin and five for Giannulli.

Both would face fines ranging from a recommended $150,000 to $250,000, along with supervised release and community service.

Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 21.

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The ringleader behind the college admissions scam, William “Rick” Singer, who authorities say was paid about $25 million to bribe coaches and university administrators, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.

Actress Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives” fame was released last October from prison, after serving 11 days of a two-week sentence at a low-security California facility for her role in the scam.

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She had pleaded guilty during a tearful court appearance to paying $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT college entrance exam score.

Friday’s proceedings were a dramatic shift in the case that saw Loughlin and Giannulli spend more than a year insisting on their innocence, saying that Singer led them to believe the funds were not for bribes but a donation of sorts to the university.

Friday’s Zoom hearing lasted approximately 45 minutes, with Loughlin and Giannulli appearing separately alongside their lawyers.

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It was peppered by technical hiccups. At one point, the court reporter stepped in to get the hearing back on track, telling the voiceless judge: “You’re on mute, your honor.”


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57 Buffalo cops resign to support suspended officers who pushed down elderly man

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The entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team -- a total of 57 officers -- has resigned from the team in support of the two officers who pushed 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground, seriously injuring him.

They are still employed, but no longer on ERT.

According to Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans, the cops who pushed Gugino down were just following orders.

“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” Evans, said in a statement.

This is a developing story. Check WIVB4 for updates.

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GOP official defends post blaming George Soros for ‘staged’ killing of George Floyd: I wanted to ‘get people to think for themselves’

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The chairman of the Harrison County Republican Party in Texas is under fire after he shared a conspiracy theory on his party's Facebook page claiming that the death of George Floyd "staged" by George Soros, CBS19 reports.

The post shared by Lee Lester was also previously shared by Bexar County GOP Chairwoman Cynthia Brehm -- which prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to call for her resignation.

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On the minds of Black Lives Matter protesters: A racist health system

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, when he decided to protest, William Smith, 27, used a red marker to write a message on the back of a flattened cardboard box: “Kill Racism, Not Me.”

As he stood alone, somber, he thought about George Floyd, a fellow black man whom he’d watched die on video as a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck eight days earlier. “Seeing the life leave his body was finally the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me,” he said.

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