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The prosecution in Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli’s case has denied their claims that the FBI entrapped them as unwitting participants in the college admissions scandal after failing to turn over key evidence.
In court documents previously obtained by Fox News, attorneys for the famous couple argued that the entire case should be thrown out after notes from scam mastermind William “Rick” Singer seemingly showed that agents had urged him to lie in order to implicate parents like Loughlin and Giannulli in committing a criminal act.
The couple’s defense also alleged that the prosecution was withholding this evidence for fear it was exonerating to their clients. However, Variety reports that in a new court filing on Wednesday, the prosecution is denying both that it acted in bad faith and that the evidence is at all exonerating.
“In a sprawling, fast-moving prosecution, the failure to produce the notes earlier was simply a mistake,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven E. Frank in the new filing. “The defendants have suffered no prejudice, and their suggestion that the notes somehow ‘exonerate’ them, or reveal that the evidence against them was fabricated, is demonstrably false.”
In January, the couple’s attorney accused prosecutors of withholding evidence that could help prove that they weren’t aware the $500,000 they were paying to Singer to get their daughters, Isabella and Oliva Jade Giannulli, admitted to the University of Southern California went to personal bribes.
“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,” the earlier court documents read. “They further note the Government’s desire to ‘nail’ one of the defendants ‘at all costs.’”
However, despite what Singer wrote in his notes, the prosecution is now arguing that he had not yet fully taken responsibility for his crimes when he wrote what he did. It also argues that, regardless of whether the money was called a “donation” or a “bribe,” a crime still took place.
“Just because neither Singer nor the defendants actually used the word ‘bribe’ to describe the purported donations doesn’t mean that they were legitimate,” Frank wrote. “They were bribes, regardless of what Singer and the defendants called them, because, as the defendants knew, the corrupt insiders were soliciting the money in exchange for recruiting unqualified students, in violation of their duty of honest services to their employer.”
Loughlin and Giannulli previously pleaded not guilty to expanded charges of bribery brought against them in October along with 11 other parents swept up in the scandal. The duo has been accused of arranging a total collective payment of $500,000 to Singer to get their daughters recruited to USC as athletes on the crew team, despite never having participated in the sport.
The charge of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The couple was previously hit with charges of money laundering and conspiracy that could land them behind bars for 40 years if convicted on all of them.