Federal prosecutors have mocked Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli over claims that the government hid evidence that would prove their innocence in the college admissions scandal.
Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, have pleaded not guilty to paying $500,000 in bribes to have their two daughters admitted into the University of Southern California as fake rowing recruits – and recently filed new court documents alleging that federal prosecutors concealed evidence that shows that they believed they were making a legitimate donation to the college.
However, on Friday, retaliatory documents filed by the prosecution include a sarcastic statement that ridicules both Loughlin and Giannuli. It asserts that the ‘exculpatory evidence’ to which the couple are referring to does not exist.
They accuse Loughlin and Giannuli of referring to a recent witness interview with college mastermind Rick Singer, which was conducted after their arrest. The prosecution document states: ‘The government has broad powers, but they do not include mental telepathy or time travel’.
According to TMZ, the document sarcastically adds: ‘The government cannot disclose witness statements before the witnesses make them’.
The prosecutors go on to assert that ‘the absence of such [legitimate exculpatory]evidence is a result of Loughlin and Giannnulli’s criminal conduct, not any government disclosure violations’.
The documents are said to state that the prosecution didn’t provide exculpatory evidence showing that their payment was not a bribe given to then-USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel.
The couple claim it took prosecutors months to hand over the evidence, as well as Singer’s testimony which indicate that Loughlin and Giannulli were unaware that any bribes had been offered to the school.
‘Rick Singer has advised the government, in sum and in substance, that … the families that do the side door …typically do not know that Heinel is involved until the time of the first payment,’ the document stated, according to TMZ.
The couple are arguing prosecutors should have revealed this news back in May following his testimony.
In not revealing Singer’s statements, the couple claimed in the legal document that the government had used the supposed lack of evidence as to ‘pressure defendants into pleading guilty.’
The document stated that the couple thought that the $50,000 payment they made ‘went directly to USC’s program’ and that prosecutors ‘clearly acknowledges that Giannulli and Loughlin’s alleged “bribe payments” did not go to any USC official personally, but rather went to USC itself.’
The additional $200,000 they gave Singer, the couple apparently believed had been given to Singer’s charity, with some of the funds ‘going to a USC program.’
It’s unclear which USC program Loughlin and husband believed their money was benefiting, however.
The couple’s court document also states that prosecutors are in possession of internet USC emails that offered to ‘flag’ on of the couple’s daughter’s applications and offered up a special tour of the campus for the purpose of discussing ‘the impact of [Giannulli’s] philanthropy.’
The couple’s contention that they believed their money was being donated to the school – and not an individual at the school as a bribe – is believed to be a key point.
It is not illegal to donate money to the university.
The document also stated that USC ‘has an institutional practice of tightly intertwining admissions and fundraising’ and noted that the school’s athletic director at the time, Pat Hayden, reportedly said that the couple was ‘good for a million plus’ in donations in connection with Bella and Olivia Jade’s admissions.
Loughlin and Giannulli’s criminal trial for their part in the college admissions scandal has now been set for October.
They have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering and bribery.
The couple have put their 12,000 square-foot, Bel Air, California, home on the market for $28million. It was used as collateral for their $2million bail after the college admissions scandal broke.