Entertainment Lori Loughlin seeks college admissions case dismissal over misconduct

Lori Loughlin seeks college admissions case dismissal over misconduct

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BOSTON — Attorneys for 14 parents, including actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, asked a federal judge to throw out the government’s case against them in the nation’s college admissions scandal, arguing “extraordinary misconduct” by prosecutors warrants dismissal.

In a filing Wednesday supporting a motion to dismiss, lawyers again singled out notes Rick Singer, the mastermind of a nationwide admissions scheme, took on his iPhone following discussions with FBI investigators in October 2018 about recorded phone calls they directed him to make to parents.

The defense attorneys argued the notes prove their clients’ innocence – that parents thought they were making legitimate donations to college programs, not bribing college officials, to get their children admitted into elite colleges. But the lawyers said the government “knowingly withheld” the evidence, which was not turned over until last month.

“The Government’s extraordinary misconduct warrants extraordinary relief,” the motion to dimiss reads. “The facts known so far justify dismissal of the indictment. At a minimum, the Court should order suppression of the tainted recordings.”

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The U.S. Attorneys Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Loughlin and Giannulli face multiple federal charges, including fraud, money laundering and bribery, for allegedly paying Singer $500,000 to have their two daughters designated as fake crew recruits to get them admitted into the University of Southern California.

In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin departs federal court in Boston after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.  Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and nine other parents face new charges in the college admissions scandal. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, that the parents were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.

At issue are notes Singer made after he was cooperating with federal investigators in 2018. In one note, Singer wrote that FBI officials got “loud and abrasive” and “continue to ask me to tell a fib” about what he told clients before they paid into his scheme. He said the FBI wanted him not to restate what he actually told his clients — that they were making a payment to an athletic program, not a college coach.

Parents’ attorneys said the notes, which they first raised in court Feb. 27, undermine “one of the government’s most valued pieces of evidence” –  secretly recorded phone calls that the FBI had Singer make with his past clients to admit to their crimes.

“The notes state that agents browbeat Singer and instructed him to lie in order to elicit misleading evidence that was inconsistent with the actual facts that Singer had explained to agents,” the motion reads.

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