A federal judge on Thursday scheduled an Oct. 5 trial for actor Lori Loughlin, her husband and six others in the college admissions bribery scandal.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, face charges of bribery, money laundering and fraud for allegedly paying $500,000 to get their daughters admitted to USC.
Attorneys for the couple alleged in a court filing that new information shows that FBI agents bullied the key cooperating witness, Rick Singer, into ensnaring his clients in the investigation.
The attorneys accused the prosecution of engaging in misconduct by withholding Singer’s notes of conversations with FBI agents until Wednesday. The defense contends that Loughlin and Giannulli believed the payments were legitimate charitable contributions to USC, and that Singer’s notes show that the FBI was pressuring him not to say that in his recorded phone calls.
“They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where their money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment,” Singer wrote, according to the defense filing. “Essentially they are asking me to bend the truth.”
The defense also says the FBI agents “repeatedly yelled at” Singer.
“To obtain a conviction here, the Government must prove that Defendants had the specific intent to defraud USC, and that their payments were bribes as opposed to legitimate donations,” wrote defense attorney Sean Berkowitz. “Obviously, if Singer — an experienced and (at the time) respected college-admissions counselor — told Defendants that their payments were legitimate and would fund a university program, such information would be exculpatory…”
The defense had asked the court to hold off on setting a trial date in light of the new revelations.