BOSTON (CN) — Insisting that she and her husband had no idea their efforts to send their daughters to college put bribes in the pockets of school officials, “Full House” star Lori Loughlin has accused the government of withholding evidence.
“The government’s theory in this case is that Giannulli and Loughlin knowingly bribed a rogue USC administrator in order to secure their daughters’ admission to the university,” Sean Berkowitz of Latham & Watkins wrote in a late-night filing Friday. “But the government appears to be concealing exculpatory evidence that helps show that both defendants believed all of the payments they made would go to USC itself — for legitimate, university-approved purposes — or to other legitimate charitable causes.”
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters falsely labeled as recruits for the University of Southern California crew team, as athletic admissions are generally subject to less stringent academic requirements.
The pair were indicted along with dozens others earlier this year as part of the FBI’s Operation Varsity Blues, which uncovered a scheme from William “Rick” Singer to cheat the SAT and ACT tests as well as to bribe students’ way into prestigious schools.
While Singer has pleaded guilty along with a score of parents, coaches, and various officials from schools and testing organizations, Loughlin and Giannulli are the most high profile of those holding out for trial. In their bid to compel discovery, the couple seek evidence that the University of Southern California knew about Singer’s scheme as well as records of Singer’s interviews with investigators.
Along with Latham & Watkins, Loughlin and Giannulli are represnted by Mark Beck and attorneys at Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar and Scheper Kim & Harris.
Loughlin and Giannulli were initially charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in March, but the government filed on the charges after they pleaded not guilty. A third superseding indictment filed in October alleges money laundering and bribery.
The’ money-laundering charges come from Singer’s scheme to convert bribes and other payments by funneling them through his purported charity and his for-profit corporation, as well as by transferring money into the United States, from outside the country, for the purpose of promoting the fraud scheme.
Loughlin, Giannulli and other co-defendants fighting the charges have their next hearing in January 2020.
A spokesperson from the Department of Justice did not respond to an email seeking comment.