A status conference will be held today as an update on those involved in the college admissions scam, among them actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion mogul Mossimo Giannulli. Being addressed in the conference are 1.5 million pages of emails, nearly 500,000 other documents, 4,000 intercepted or consensually recorded telephone calls and text messages seized by the government. Below are some of the details being revealed. Following that is our previous account of this week’s news updates about the case as it pertains to actress Loughlin, Mossimo and their two daughters.
What’s in the Documents
- •Details from prosecutors of how William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the scheme, structured the scam, which he described as a “side door” approach to parents looking to gain admission for their children into elite colleges.
- •Prosecutors have stated documents show Loughlin and Giannulli as specifically rejecting the ‘legitimate’ approach,” this despite their previous defense to the contrary.
- •Emails discussing the fake athletic profiles created for Loughlin’s and Giannulli’s daughters who applied to the University of Southern California (USC) as rowing recruits. CNN reports, “In one element of the profile created for their older daughter, she is described as ‘an earnest, outspoken, incredibly positive-minded coxswain” who “puts extra effort in to everything she does.'”
- •An email exchange discussing the need for a rowing photo of one of Loughlin’s daughters for her application. Per CNN, “After Singer sent now-former USC official Donna Heinel the falsified profile of the older Giannulli daughter, Heinel requested a different photo of the girl. “Donna asked for a picture of her in a boat,” Singer wrote to one of his associates. “Is there a coxswain picture we can use that is tough to see the face since they are sitting online?” Singer wrote.”
- •An email outlining Giannulli’s response to being contacted by a USC development official to set up a visit for his daughter to the college and about “flagging” her application to note that Giannulli is an alumnus of the university. Giannulli’s response, as cited in a CNN article, “‘I think we are all squared away,’ Giannulli responded to the official. He forwarded the email to his wife, Loughlin, with an addition — “The nicest I’ve been at blowing off somebody.'”
Legal troubles for Loughlin and husband Giannulli have increased in scope. Federal prosecutors have added withholding evidence to the couple’s list of charges in the college admissions scandal, which encompasses the USC, UCLA, Georgetown, and Wake Forest. In the Friday court filing, federal prosecutors claim a majority of parents in the case have yet to submit their discovery materials. For Loughlin and Giannulli, this current charge joins one count of bribery and two for conspiracy.
Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty to the previous charges stemming from the admissions scandal, through which they allegedly paid $500,000 to William “Rick” Singer to gain admission for their daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli into USC. For his part, Singer has pleaded guilty to four federal charges and is cooperating with prosecutors.
Eleven additional parents have also been charged with a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Among the charges brought against them are conspiracy fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Thirty parents in all were involved in the scandal.
Per CNN, the parents have been accused “of bribing USC employees to get their children admitted to the school. In exchange for the bribes, USC coaches and athletics officials allegedly designated the children as recruited athletes, easing their admission, regardless of their athletic ability.”
Of the 52 people charged in the scam, which include college coaches and test administrators, 29 people have pleaded guilty. Among them is actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud for paying $15,000 to Singer to boost her daughter’s, Sophia Grace Macy’s, SAT scores. Huffman served 11 days of a 14-day sentence in a Dublin, California federal prison.
The defendants who are pleading not guilty face a maximum of up to 45 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.
In a December article, CNN reported defense attorneys claimed Loughlin and Giannulli “didn’t realize their money was being used to bribe Donna Heinel, a USC official, as federal prosecutors are claiming.”
With the news of today’s new charges, CNN reported, “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.”