BOSTON (CN) — Doubling down on their discovery demands in the college admissions bribery case, “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband told a federal judge Thursday that the government waited a year and a half to turn over evidence they see as exculpatory.
Along with dozens of other prominent families across the country, the couple were indicted last year on charges that they had paid bribes to misrepresent their daughters as recruits for the University of Southern California crew team — a designation that would reduce expectations of the girls on the academic side of the college-application process.
Denying any wrongdoing, however, Loughlin and Giannulli insist that Rick Singer, the convicted mastermind of the admissions scandal, gave them the impression that, rather than bribing a coach, they had merely given USC lawful donations to helping their children’s chances.
Lawyers for the couple say that the government waited until Wednesday to release iPhone notes from Singer in which he details how the government has been coercing him into entrapment.
“Singer’s notes say that the FBI agents repeatedly yelled at him, instructed him to lie, and directed him not to mention on the recorded calls that he had previously told the clients that their payments would be ‘donation’ that would go ‘to the university program not the coach,'” Thursday’s filing states.
Loughlin and Giannulli are represented by solo practitioner Mark Beck as well as attorneys at Latham & Watkins; Donnelly Conroy; and Scheper Kim.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton set the couple’s Oct. 5 trial date at a hearing this morning on the heels of a Wednesday motion that said the couple expected to be exonerated by new evidence.
“Loud and abrasive call with agents,” one of Singer’s notes states, as quoted in the Wednesday filing. “They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where the money was going — to the program and not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment.”
Attorneys for the parents say the substantial amount of evidence, outstanding pretrial motions and general complexity of the case made a trial this fall impossible and that there should be no trial before next February.
Loughlin rose to fame in the 1990s as Aunt Becky on the sitcom “Full House.” Before her recent legal troubles caused the Hallmark channel to sever ties, the actress was experiencing something of a second act as the star of made-for-TV romantic comedies.
Authorities say she and Giannulli paid $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as recruits to the rowing team — a scheme they dressed up further by sending Singer photos of the teens posing on rowing machines to create fake athletic profiles.
Singer, who pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme, used a sham charity to funnel the so-called donations to coaches who were in on the scheme.
Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to stand trial with six other prominent parents accused of rigging the college admissions system. Other parents who have pleaded not guilty will stand trial in January 2021.
Among nearly two dozen parents who pleaded guilty, “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.