The story behind the U.S. college admissions scandal is coming to Netflix this week in the new hybrid-documentary “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal”. Now, former U.S. prosecutor Andrew Lelling is speaking out about the case, offering new insight into the case behind the scandal’s most famous faces: Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, and Mossimo Giannulli.
In the scandal, parents were accused of paying thousands of dollars to falsify SAT scores and fraudulently present their children as athletes. Speaking with NBC News, Lelling says he was not surprised by Huffman’s quick acceptance of a plea deal, which led to her serving 11 days behind bars.
“You had the sense that she just wanted this behind her,” he explains. “It seemed to me that she was sincere in her regret over this having occurred.”
The college admissions scandal that landed wealthy parents, including some Hollywood celebrities, behind bars is now the subject of a new documentary. @Miguelnbc takes a closer look. pic.twitter.com/wiMkcfipbC
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2021
However, Loughlin and her husband Giannulli were a “tougher” case, citing the “Fuller House” star’s seeming nonchalance over the severe accusations as she appeared smiling and signing autographs outside the courthouse on her first court appearance.
“Sometimes it takes a while for it to sink in just how big a deal this kind of federal indictment is,” he says. “I can’t ask for more prison time just because they’re famous, that would not be right.”
Loughlin served two months in jail while Giannulli is currently serving a five-month sentence.
With the release of “Operation Variety Blues” on Netflix, Lelling says people are still fascinated by the case, two years after the news first broke.
“You have two million or so students every year applying for admissions to college, when they turn on the TV and see that people who already have every possible advantage sought an illegal advantage, I think that enrages people,” he says.
“Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal”, which blends documentary and reenactment, arrives on Netflix on March 17.