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Judge Passes on Dismissing Charges Against Loughlin

Defense had argued misconduct by FBI agents
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2020 4:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – A judge declined Friday to dismiss charges against actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and other prominent parents accused of cheating the college admissions process who argue they were entrapped by federal authorities. US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton rejected the defense's bid to toss the indictment over allegations of misconduct by FBI agents in the case that has rocked the world of higher education. The judge also denied their attempt to block prosecutors from presenting certain secretly recorded phone calls at trial, the AP reports. "The Court is satisfied that government's counsel has not lied to or attempted to mislead the Court or fabricated evidence," Gorton wrote in his ruling. A lawyer for the couple declined to comment on Friday.

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Loughlin and Giannulli are to go on trial in October on charges that they paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, though neither girl was a rower. The judge’s decision came after he ordered prosecutors to explain iPhone notes written by the admitted mastermind of the scheme, Rick Singer, when he was secretly working with the government in 2018. In his notes, Singer wrote that investigators told him to lie to get parents to make incriminating statements over recorded phone calls. The agents instructed him to say he told the parents the payments were bribes, not donations, according to notes made public in legal filings. Gorton wrote Friday that prosecutors' failure to turn over Singer's notes to the defense earlier was "irresponsible and misguided," but not "willful." And if defense attorneys disagree, they'll have 'ample opportunity' to cross examine Singer at trial, the judge said.

(Read more Lori Loughlin stories.)

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