Prosecutors have released the widely referenced photos of “Full House’ star Lori Loughlin’s daughters posing on a rowing machine, which were taken in her alleged bid to have the girls accepted to the University of Southern California as purported crew athletes, according to court papers.
The photographs show each of the daughters sitting on the ergometers, or rowing machines, on different dates months apart, and are evidence of the parents’ alleged attempts to make it seem as though their daughters were qualified rowers, in accordance with suggestions from scheme mastermind William “Rick” Singer’s advice.
"It would probably help to get a picture with her on an ERG in workout clothes like a real athlete too,” Singer allegedly told them in an August 2016 email. Giannulli sent Singer one photo of their daughter on Sept. 7, 2016, prosecutors said, TMZ reported.
He sent a similar photo of their other daughter on July 28, 2017, with Loughlin copied on the email, court papers show.
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying approximately $500,000 to create nonexistent positions for their daughters on the University of Southern California’s crew team, even though neither had ever taken part in the sport.
They are accused of being part of a vast conspiracy scheme in which more than 50 parents allegedly paid to get their children into college under false pretenses, or paid to have their kids' college entrance exams fixed.
They have both consistently pleaded not guilty and, recently, have made several motions to have the case dismissed by alleging prosecutorial misconduct and even entrapment, among other things.
Loughlin and Giannulli have long argued they believed the payments were legitimate donations toward “university-approved purposes – or to other legitimate charitable causes,” according to court papers.
But prosecutors say plenty of evidence shows Loughlin and Giannulli understood the payments were bribes designed to get their daughters admitted into the school as bogus crew recruits.
In one recorded call Singer told Loughlin that the IRS was auditing his sham charity but he said he didn’t tell investigators about the couple’s “donations helping the girls get into USC to do crew even though they didn’t do crew.” Loughlin responded: “So we just – so we just have to say we made a donation to your foundation and that’s it, end of story?” according to a transcript of the call.
The Hollywood couple previously also accused prosecutors of withholding evidence and exculpatory information.
In mid-January, prosecutors responded by releasing more than 400 pages of emails and other evidence showing the parents opted not to take the “legitimate” option to get their daughters into college, despite a school official's offer to help.
Weeks later, prosecutors released one of the couple’s daughters’ fake crew profiles.
"Her sister is currently on our roster and fills the position of our #4 boat," the resume states.
Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to go to trial in October alongside six other parents charged in the case.
Nearly two dozen parents have pleaded guilty to charges that they paid bribes to rig college entrance exams or get their kids into top schools as fake athletic recruits. Others who have admitted to charges in the case include “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have someone correct her daughter’s SAT answers.