The lawyer for Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband claim new evidence exonerates the couple in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.
The “Full House” actress’ defense has hinged on the argument that she believed the money she paid to the sham charity of the scandal’s mastermind, Rick Singer, were truly donations — and not bribes.
Notes from Singer’s iPhone released in Boston federal court Wednesday appear to back up that claim, according to Loughlin’s lawyer, Sean M. Berkowitz, according to ABC News.
Singer, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud in the scandal, complained in his notes sent to his lawyer that he had argued with FBI agents over the phone after they instructed him to accurately describe where payments to him were actually going — what he described as a “fib.”
“Loud and abrasive call with agents,” Singer wrote. “They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where their money was going — to the program, not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment.”
Prosecutors charged that the notes were merely “a con man’s interpretation” of communication with the FBI, according to the report.
But Berkowitz seized on the note, and in a filing Wednesday requested to postpone the setting of a trial date until ongoing evidence disputes are decided.
Singer’s notes indicate that FBI agents yelled at him and instructed him to lie by saying that he told his clients who participated in the alleged “side door” scheme that their payments were bribes, rather than legitimate donations that went to the schools, Berkowitz reportedly wrote in the filing.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are among nearly two dozen embroiled in a scandal in which well-heeled parents and celebrities are accused of bribing selective universities to ensure the admission of their children.
The couple allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes to Singer in exchange for having their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, designated as recruits for USC’s crew team even though neither had ever participated in the sport.
They have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, honest services mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.