“Full House” Lady Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, along with other Notable parents are urging a judge to dismiss charges against them at the college admissions bribery case
“Full House” Actress Lori Loughlin, her style designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, along with other notable parents urged a judge Wednesday to dismiss charges against them at the college admissions bribery case, accusing prosecutors of “extraordinary” misconduct.
Defense attorneys for the the famous couple and other parents fighting the charges state the case can’t stand because researchers bullied their informant into lying and then hidden evidence that would reinforce the parents’ claims of innocence.
“The extraordinary government misconduct presented in this case threatens grave harm to defendants and the integrity of this proceeding. That misconduct cannot be ignored,” the attorneys wrote.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston declined Wednesday to comment.
Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to go on trial in October on charges that they paid $500,000 to receive their daughters in the University of Southern California as team recruits even though neither woman was a rower. Prosecutors say they snapped photographs of the women sitting on rowing machines to help make bogus athletic profiles that depicted them as star athletes.
Six additional wealthy parents accused of participating in the strategy will stand trial together with them. Another six parents have been scheduled to face trial in January.
The defense says prosecutors withheld evidence that could support the parents’ argument that they thought that the payments were legitimate contributions that would help the schools, rather than bribes for officials or coaches. The signs — notes from the telephone of the plot’s admitted mastermind, admissions adviser Rick Singer — wasn’t given to the defense until last month.
Singer wrote in the notes which FBI agents yelled at him and told him to lie for parents to state things in recorded phone calls which may be used against them. Singer wrote that FBI agents told him to state he told parents that the payments were bribes.
“They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment,” Singer wrote, according to the filing.
The defense says the notes reveal that agents bullied Singer into producing signs and attempt to trick parents into unnecessarily agreeing that the payments were bribes.
“For government agents to coerce an informant into lying on recorded calls to generate false inculpatory evidence against investigative targets—and to then knowingly prosecute those targets using that false evidence—is governmental malfeasance of the worst kind,” the attorneys wrote.
Instead of handing over the notes when they first saw them in Oct. 2018, prosecutors”buried” the signs and told the defense it had provided everything it was supposed to, the parents’ lawyers wrote.
The defense also accused researchers of allowing Singer to delete thousands of text messages from his phone and then mounting an “aggressive (and highly successful) pressure campaign” for parents to plead guilty.
“While withholding the notes and many other examples of material exculpatory information, the government attempted to coerce defendants into pleading guilty by threatening that if they did not, they would face additional charges,” the parents’ lawyers wrote.
Singer’s notes were not given to the defense until February because the authorities believed that they were jobless and did not examine them further after finding them, prosecutors have said. Prosecutors say it isn’t important if Singer called the obligations bribes or contributions, because it was an illegal quid pro quo.
The defense stated if the judge does not dismiss the case, he should at least stop prosecutors from using the “tainted recordings” at trial and order a hearing to “uncover the full truth about the recordings and the government’s efforts to fabricate and conceal evidence.”
Almost two dozen other parents have pleaded guilty in the case, such as “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to fourteen days in prison for committing $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.