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Olivia Jade Knew About the College Admissions Scandal, Prosecutors Allege

Photo: Presley Ann/Getty Images for Oh Polly

It’s been assumed for some time that Olivia Jade Giannulli, the influencer and vlogger daughter of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, was involved in the college admissions scandal that has plagued her parents since last spring. Court documents from April 2019, for instance, showed Jade’s email address copied on several messages regarding the scam, and a year later, federal prosectors released staged photos of Jade using a rowing machine — photos that appeared in her application to USC, which claimed that she was an accomplished coxswain who would be recruited to join the crew team. New court documents filed by federal prosecutors released August 17, though, assert that Jade had numerous discussions with her parents about how to hide the scheme from her guidance counselor, who was getting increasingly suspicious about the veracity of her college applications. These new documents state that Jade actively discussed with her parents “how to avoid the possibility that a high school counselor would disrupt their scheme.”

“They involved both their daughters in the fraud, directing them to pose in staged photographs for use in fake athletic profiles and instructing one daughter how to conceal the scheme from her high school counselor,” the documents state, referring to Jade and her older sister, Isabella Giannulli. “When their daughter [Jade] asked whether she should list USC as her top choice school, Loughlin replied: ‘Yes, but it might be a flag for the weasel to meddle.’” The “weasel” is in reference to her guidance counselor, who Loughlin implored Jade not to “say too much” about her applications, because the counselor was acting like a “nosey bastard.” Documents also say that Giannulli had an in-person confrontation with the counselor in spring 2018, when the counselor contacted USC to express doubt about Jade being a rower. The following day, the counselor reversed course and emailed Giannulli to confirm that USC now knows that Jade “is truly a coxswain.”

Loughlin and Giannulli have both pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to their involvement in the scam. They are expected to be sentenced on Friday, with Loughlin agreeing to two months in prison, a $150,000 fine, and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service. As for Jade, she has only posted intermittently on social media and her popular YouTube channel since the scandal broke. “I’m legally not allowed to speak on anything going on right now,” she calmly explained in a video from last December. “I genuinely miss filming and I feel like a huge part of me is not the same, because this is something that I’m really passionate about and something I like to do.” Jade has not returned to USC for further semesters.

Olivia Jade Knew About Admissions Scam, Prosecutors Allege