Attorneys for actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli claim the government could be holding back exculpatory evidence in their criminal case. Now they demand an oral argument in the matter.
“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,” the defense said in a Friday filing obtained by Law&Crime. “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. The Government’s failure to disclose this information is unacceptable, and this Court should put a stop to it.”
The defendants allegedly tried to bribe their daughters’ way into the University of Southern California.
According to the filing, the defense plans to show that the couple didn’t know or intend for those payments to be used to allegedly bribe USC athletic administrator Donna Heinel. Loughlin and Giannuli thought those were legitimate donations, the defense will argue.
The couple are being charged as among the many wealthy parents who allegedly tried to literally buy college admissions for their children with the help of admitted ringleader and government informer William Singer. While others have pleaded guilty, Loughlin and Giannuli notably continue to fight charges including money laundering conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.
The defense suggests that Singer’s interview with the FBI might include statements that could clear Louglin and Giannuli.
“It is almost certain that the FBI asked Singer what he told his clients about how [Singer’s nonprofit Key Worldwide Foundation] would use their donations; Singer’s response to that question is certainly material; and there is strong reason to believe it is exculpatory as well,” they write.
You can read the full filing here:
[Screengrab via JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images]