Published: Sat, January 18, 2020
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

New filing in college bribery case against Loughlin, husband

New filing in college bribery case against Loughlin, husband

Last month defense attorneys for actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, accused prosecutors of withholding exculpatory evidence that would aid their case: Federal Bureau of Investigation interviews with William "Rick" Singer, the mastermind behind the college admissions scheme.

In the defendants' motion to compel production of exculpatory evidence, Loughlin and Giannuli's attorneys said Singer's responses in the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviews depict how he falsely led his clients to believe their payments were legitimate donations.

Prosecutors requested a final status conference during the week of June 15, 2020, and estimated that the government's case will take three to six weeks of court time once the trial begins.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Rosen wrote that the couple "specifically rejected this "legitimate" approach", and pointed to emails exchanged between Giannulli and an official in USC's development office, the Times reported.

"Hi Mossimo - Please let me know if I can be at all helpful in setting up a 1:1 opportunity for her, customized tour of campus for the family..."

"I think we are squared away", Mossimo wrote in a September 27, 2016 email to the official and then forwarded that email to his wife, writing: "The nicest I've been at blowing somebody off", according to the court papers. He forwarded the email thread to his wife that night, adding, "The nicest I've been at blowing off somebody".

Prosecutors allege that Giannulli had already been conspiring with Singer to pass the daughter off as an elite coxswain for the crew team. "Profile is being made as a coxswain and USC is awaiting my packet with the transcript, test scores and profile".

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"In August 2016, Singer told the Giannullis the he would "create a coxswain profile" for their daughter, and noted that '[i] t would probably help to get a picture with her on an ERG [an indoor rowing machine] in workout clothes like a real athlete too'", the court documents state, per ABC News. The couple wrote a $50,000 check to a USC account that Heinel controlled and wired Singer $200,000, prosecutors say. In March 2018, a USC official asked Donna Heinel to look into three students-Lori Loughlin's youngest daughter among them-"whose high schools were quite surprised to hear they were being admitted as athletic recruits", per the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles' Marymount High School, attended by actress Lori Loughlin's two daughters, "doesn't think either of the students are serious crew participants", a USC employee wrote in an email.

Heinel was asked to investigate and wrote the next day that Loughlin's younger daughter rowed for a "competitive" club and USC's coach "thinks she has talent". Heinel was eventually detained in the "Operation Varsity Blues" sting and also is charged of collaborating with William "Rick" Singer to obtain unqualified trainees right into USC.

Heinel pleaded not guilty and his lawyer declined to comment on the latest filing.

In a petition filed on Wednesday, Eric S. Rosen, a US attorney general, addressed complaints filed by defense lawyers who alleged that Rosen and his colleagues had withheld evidence that was beneficial to their clients.

On Nov. 1, Loughlin and Giannulli, 56, pleaded not accountable to the felony price and totally different earlier bills, along with conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest corporations mail fraud.

Singer, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to his role in the scam and is co-operating with the government as the investigation continues.

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