If you’ve been searching the internet for Felicity Huffman’s mug shot since yesterday — and Lori Loughlin’s since this morning — then we can let you know that your search is over because they aren’t likely to be released.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed to TheWrap that mug shots are only released by the U.S. Marshals “under very specific circumstances that do not apply here,” and that the ones for Huffman and Loughlin will not be released.
“In the Central District of California, it would be very uncommon for the federal Marshals to distribute a mug shot to the public,” one criminal defense attorney told us, backing the DOJ’s answer.
That is consistent with the U.S. Marshals’ stated policy, which can be found in full here.
“It is USMS policy to release photographs of fugitives or other prisoners only for law enforcement purposes,” it reads.
“When a fugitive has not yet been captured, the Task Forces and district offices may determine whether a law enforcement purpose would be served by release of photographs to the media or public,” the policy continues. “Once a prisoner has been arrested, the general rule is that no release should be made because release of photographs of that prisoner to the media or public would not serve law enforcement purposes.”
There is a means for media to possibly get the mug shot using the Freedom of Information Act, or an FOIA request.
In that case, the USMS will still not disclose booking photographs unless its Office of General Counsel “determines either that the requester has made the requisite showing that the public interest in the requested booking photograph outweighs the privacy interest at stake or that other factors specific to the particular FOIA request warrant processing that request consistent with existing Sixth Circuit precedent.”
But there is a chance the mug shots can get out another way.
Most of the time, a mug shot is taken when someone is processed, whether at the state of federal — including the Marshals — level.
A U.S. Marshals public information officer told TheWrap the Marshals don’t have a place to hold prisoners, so if they need to be detained, usually at a local jail, the local jails sometimes take their mug shots and they sometimes release those.
However, Marshals can’t disclose where someone is being held, and without that information, obtaining the mug shots through this route becomes unlikely in Huffman and Loughlin’s cases.
On Tuesday, Loughlin and Huffman, along with 46 others, were charged with paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into top universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC, according to charging documents.
During a press conference in Boston on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts, said this was the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” totaling $25 million in bribes.
The official charges for both actresses were “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.” If convicted, they could each face up to five years in prison.
Huffman made her initial court appearance on Tuesday and was released on $250,000 bond. Her next court date is March 29 in Boston. Loughlin surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning. She will appear in a federal Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday at 2 p.m. PT.