A federal judge in Boston on Friday refused to dismiss charges against actress Lori Loughlin, ruling that investigators did “not fabricate evidence” against her in a massive college-admissions scandal.
Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, and other defendants had argued that federal agents wrongly pressured the college-admissions fixer, and now cooperating witness, Rick Singer in his talks with the parents.
In notes taken off Singer’s iPhone, the admitted ringleader complained on Oct. 2, 2018, that agents “continue to ask me to tell a fib” in improper efforts to draw recorded, incriminating statements.
U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton wrote that he’s “satisfied that the government has not lied to or misled” him.
Singer’s notes related to “future calls to be made to defendants, was in response to the agents’ efforts to get Singer to corroborate, not fabricate, evidence,” according to Gorton.
Loughlin, best known for her work on the long-running comedy “Full House,” and other defendants fighting charges insist they believed the money they paid was not intended to be bribes.
“To the extent the defendants are dissatisfied with Singer’s purported denials of any wrongdoing in connection with his rehearsed telephone calls, they will have ample opportunity to cross examine him if and when he testifies at trial,” Gorton wrote.
“Whether Singer’s calls in October, 2018, were consistent with his prior representations of his ‘program’ and whether they demonstrate that defendants believed their payments to be legitimate donations rather than bribes is an issue squarely for the jury after a trial on the merits.”
The judge did take prosecutors to task for not turning over Singer’s notes to defense lawyers sooner, writing: “The government’s failure to do so was irresponsible and misguided. It was not, however, willful.”
Loughlin and Giannulli, scheduled for trial in October, are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither girl was a rower.
A lawyer for Loughlin could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.
They’re among dozens of well-heeled parents caught up in “Operation Varsity Blues.” The federal probe showed how some wealthy parents paid big dollars to Singer to secure admission to elite schools for their children — often by fabricating athletic credentials or cheating on standardize tests.
Nearly two dozen parents have already pleaded guilty in the case, including actress Felicity Huffman, who has already served two weeks behind bars. The famed “Desperate Housewives” actress admitted to paying $15,000 for her daughter’s entrance exam answers to be corrected.