news 4 days ago

Actress Lori Loughlin withholding evidence in college scam, feds say

Boston Herald — Andrew Martinez Boston Herald

Jan. 13-- Jan. 13--Actress Lori Loughlin and other defendants are still withholding evidence from the feds in the college admissions scandal, a joint filing late last week claimed, setting up a possible showdown between parents and prosecutors next month in federal court.

"Defendants have not yet produced any discovery to the Government despite Government requests," Friday's joint status report said. "The Defendants believe that it is premature to do so at this time. The Government disagrees with the Defendants' assertion that it is 'premature' to provide their own discovery."

Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli had argued last month that the feds are denying them a fair trial by withholding FBI interviews with scandal leader Rick Singer. Other parents fighting bribery charges also filed similar petitions over evidence last month.

A potential hearing on the evidence fight could be held Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court, as the sides are expected to exchange reply briefs this month. A status conference in the case will be held Friday in federal court.

Prosecutors in last week's report said they've handed discovery to defendants seven times since the case began in hard drives, DVDs and thumb drives.

Parents filed a joint motion Dec. 9 asking for more evidence, and Loughlin and Giannulli filed their own petition days later on Dec. 13.

Loughin and Giannulli, accused of paying a combined $500,000 in bribes for their daughters' admission to the University of Southern California as fake crew recruits, also gained access Friday to secret USC documents another defendant fought for last October.

Defendant Robert Zangrillo fought successfully in federal court for access to USC documents including information about the percentage of students accepted into USC who were designated as "VIP" or "special interest" and whose parents donated at least $50,000 to USC.

Other parents have also gained access to the documents since Zangrillo's court battle. Access to the "Protected USC Material" is strictly limited.

The defendants are fighting their charges even as nearly a dozen other parents have already been sentenced in the scandal, with incarceration terms between two weeks and six months.

Actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to boost her daughter's SAT score, completed her 13-day sentence and has already begun her community service commitment.

Other parents who paid bribes to get their children admitted to prestigious colleges squeezed their prison sentences in before the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Prosecutors and parents in Friday's status report also agreed on a motion to dismiss filing date in April, and pretrial hearings in June.

The government also wrote in Friday's report it expects a college admissions scandal trial to last three to six weeks.

___

(c)2020 the Boston Herald

Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.