Full House star Lori Loughlin and her Guess designer husband Mossimo Giannulli are "in chaos" ahead of their January 17th court date, according to reports.
On October 22nd, prosecutors surprised them with a third federal charge, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery. The pair has been accused of bribing their daughters' way into University of Southern California with $500K.
"The entire family is in chaos right now," a Loughlin source tells People. "They knew this was a possibility, but they thought perhaps it was just a bargaining tool from the prosecution. Now that the charges are official, they are realizing that there is no way to avoid a moderately long prison sentence, unless they are found not guilty in a trial."
The insiders says the pair regret not taking a plea deal in exchange for a lighter sentence, as many others have.
Regarding the new charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release that Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, and nine other defendants "conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children's admission."
Previously, they were charged money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud. Those initial charges landed on March 12th, when the U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts indicted the pair and nearly 50 other parents, coaches, proctors and counselors in a vast conspiracy dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. Before the new charge landed, they faced up to 40 years in prison after pleading not guilty.
"They feel like this is David versus Goliath," says the source. "How do you go up against the federal government when the government has decided to make an example out of you? This stress is about to break them."
Daughters Olivia Jade and Bella are reportedly no longer enrolled at USC.
CHARGES FOR DAUGHTERS?
Meanwhile, daughters Olivia Jade and Bella may soon have to face the music, experts tell People. Neama Rahmani says: "At a minimum the daughters will be witnesses in a trial against their parents, but they could also be charged as defendants."
"The government has made it clear that they are going to keep increasing pressure on both Lori and Mossimo," says Rahmani. "By not pleading, Lori and Mossimo are exposing their children to being charged."
Meanwhile, Loughlin's costar Bob Saget tells Fox that he stands by Loughlin.
"I love the people I love, and people go through life, and stuff happens," the 63-year-old told Fox News. "For a while, I was saying, 'No comment,' and now there's just no point in talking about it because I've answered it. What I would say is, I love the people I love, and I have empathy for people that are in my life for 35 years. I don't cut people out."
"I've never had any friends growing up," added Saget. "So, I'm lucky to have any in the first place."