A federal judge has ordered the University of Southern California to provide more information in connection to the sweeping college admission scandal involving more than 50 parents, including “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, TMZ reported.
The demand, which called for the university to hand over previously redacted documents, was made after the judge reportedly saw some of the unredacted emails and said they “directly contradict” prosecutors’ previous assertion that the university did not give certain students preferential treatment.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo 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 allegedly sent photos of their daughters on ergometers, or rowing machines, on different dates months apart, court papers show.
But they have long argued that they believed their payments were legitimate donations, not bribes, which would go directly to USC as a fundraising gift or support the charity of the scheme’s mastermind, William “Rick” Singer.
They previously accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple’s innocence because it would undermine their case, such as, in this case, that USC has given special treatment to applicants who had money or influence, TMZ reported.
"The fact that someone made a donation to USC with the goal of getting their children into USC is not a crime," said BJ Trach, an attorney for Loughlin, during a February court appearance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen responded by telling the judge that it doesn't matter whether Singer called the payments bribes or donations, because it was still an illegal quid pro quo.
“Just because it was called a donation doesn’t make it legitimate,” Rosen said.
In the wake of parents’ allegations of “prosecutorial misconduct,” prosecutors on Tuesday agreed to release Singer’s handwritten notes that outlined his correspondence with FBI, as well as the bureau’s and the IRS’s interviews with USC officials, additional emails and court papers related to unidentified cooperating witnesses who will likely take the stand, the Boston Herald reported.
The famous couple will be tried starting Oct. 5 in Boston federal court alongside six other prominent parents accused of rigging the college admissions process. Seven others still fighting the charges will go to trial in January 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.