BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday declined to dismiss the charges against “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and other wealthy parents awaiting trial in the U.S. college admissions scandal after they accused investigators of fabricating evidence.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston said that while prosecutors should have turned over evidence from a key cooperating witness sooner, he was satisfied that “the government has not lied to or misled the court.”
That cooperator is William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions consultant who has admitted to orchestrating a vast scheme to use bribery and other forms of fraud to help wealthy parents secure the admission of their children to top schools.
Prosecutors allege that Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, agreed with Singer to pay $500,000 in bribes to have their two daughters named as fake recruits to the University of Southern California crew team.
Lawyers for them and other parents in March moved to dismiss the case, saying prosecutors had until recently withheld personal notes by Singer regarding telephone calls he placed to the parents at the government’s direction.
In notes written in October 2018, after he began cooperating with investigators, Singer said FBI agents told him to “tell a fib” during the calls by saying the money they were paying would be used for university donations rather than bribes.
In Friday’s ruling, Gorton said he accepted the prosecution’s explanations for Singer’s notes, which were written at a time when he was not being fully cooperative with investigators.
“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.
Lawyers for Loughlin and the other parents did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to face trial alongside six other parents in October.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Franklin Paul and Dan Grebler