U.S. Fights Separate Trial for Loughlin, Others in College Scam
(Bloomberg) -- Prosecutors say “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin, former TPG private equity executive Bill McGlashan and 11 other parents shouldn’t be tried separately because they are all accused of cheating to get their kids into elite schools.
The U.S. Attorney in Boston rejected an argument that parents would face prejudicial “spillover” if they are tried together. Andrew Lelling, who brought the case, scoffed at the request for as many as 11 separate trials noting that the court has already divided them into two separate groups.
“The defendants may believe they have a better chance of acquittal if they are tried separately in 11 different trials, but that does not justify severance, and the tremendous waste of resources that would accompany it,” according to a filing late Thursday.
More than 50 parents, test administrators, athletic coaches and others have been charged in the biggest college admissions scam the U.S. has ever prosecuted. Of the 36 parents charged, nearly two dozen have pleaded guilty in the case. None of the students or universities -- which included Stanford, Georgetown, Yale and the University of Southern California -- were charged.
A group of parents facing federal conspiracy and fraud charges last month assailed the government’s case on multiple fronts, saying it shouldn’t be tried in Massachusetts, wasn’t fair to lump everyone into a single conspiracy and that prosecutors were cherry picking acts.
The first group to go on trial, which includes Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli as well as venture capitalist Robert Zangrillo, are all parents who worked to get their kids into the University of Southern California as phony athletes, prosecutors say.
The government also fought Zangrillo’s argument that conspiracy and fraud charges against him should be dismissed. Zangrillo has said prosecutors failed to show any crime occurred and were making a “new and novel” interpretation of the law, arguing that faked academic records “were not material to the victim universities,” and that Boston University wasn’t defrauded because his daughter never attended the school.
Prosecutors insisted Thursday that the evidence shows Zangrillo used various methods to facilitate his fraud upon the schools, including “cheating in online classes, faking his daughter’s athletic credentials and bribery -- aimed at the same end: securing her admission to college.”
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