Lori Loughlin, her hubby and all the parents involved in the biggest college admissions scam in U.S. history should NOT do any time behind bars ... so says Steve Madden.
We got the famous shoe designer, and ex-con, Tuesday in NYC ... and who better to ask about Lori and Mossimo Giannulli 's case? Remember, Madden did 2 and a half years in prison for money laundering and stock fraud.
He joked Lori might need some help at the prison commissary soon -- but then got serious about what she's facing.
As we reported ... a Federal Grand Jury indicted Lori and Mossimo with an additional crime of "conspiring to launder the bribes" on top of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The new charges could mean nearly 5 years in prison, at minimum, if they're convicted.
Steve, who admits he knows Mossimo, thinks a prison stretch is absurd in this case. Watch the video ... he calls their $500k plan to get their girls into USC, "misguided, for sure" -- but adds it doesn't warrant incarceration.
Madden's cutting 'em some slack -- but, for now, prosecutors are out for blood.