BOSTON – Federal prosecutors deny allegations that investigators deliberately detained and fabricated evidence to frame actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and other prominent parents accused of cheating the college admission process.
Prosecutors told the judge in a legal document submitted late Wednesday that he had to reject parents’ efforts to drop the charges, calling their claims that government violations were “without merit.”
“Criminal defendants are entitled to a strong defense. But making unsubstantiated claims that the evidence was made to trap the innocent is too far, “writes Assistant Lawyer A. Stephen Frank.
Lawyers for parents have accused investigators of bullying their informants to lie and then hiding evidence that would support parents’ claims that they believe the payment is a legitimate contribution that would benefit the school, rather than bribes for trainers or officials.
At issue is a note from the recognized telephone mastermind behind the scheme, admission consultant Rick Singer, who was not given to the defense until February. In the note, Singer, who works closely with investigators, said the FBI asked him to call parents and said that he told them that the payment was a bribe.
Frank said the failure of prosecutors to submit previous records was “just a mistake” and did not cause a loss to the defense. Prosecutors said they first found the note in October 2018 but did not examine it further because they believed it was written for his lawyer and protected by attorney-client privilege.
Furthermore, the record did not release parents, prosecutors said.
“Just because both Singer and the defendants did not really use the word ‘bribe’ to describe the claimed donations does not mean that they are legitimate. They are bribes, regardless of what Singer and the suspects call them, because, as the defendants know, corrupt insiders are asking for money in return for recruiting students who do not meet the requirements, “he wrote.
Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to stand trial in October along with six other parents charged in the case. The couple were accused of paying $ 500,000 to bring their two daughters to the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though the two girls were not rowers.
Prosecutors said there was ample evidence to show that Loughlin and Giannulli understood that the payment was a bribe designed to get their daughter accepted into school as a recruited fake crew.
In one recorded call, Singer told Loughlin that the IRS was auditing his charity of lies, but he said he did not tell investigators about the couple “donations helped the girls enter USC to do crew even though they did not do crew.” Loughlin replied: “So we just – so we just have to say that we have contributed to your foundation and that’s it, end of story?” according to the transcript of the call.
“The defendants did not suffer from prejudice, and their suggestion that the record somehow” acquitted “them, or revealed that the evidence against them was fabricated, proved to be false,” prosecutors said.
Nearly two dozen parents pleaded guilty to charges that they paid bribes for rig college entrance exams or brought their children to top schools as fake athletic recruits. Others who have admitted the allegations in this case include “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $ 15,000 to ask someone to correct her daughter’s SAT answer.
Lori Loughlin, another parent looking for dismissal of college admissions cases for ‘extraordinary mistakes’
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