College-Scandal Parent’s Guilty Plea Leaves 6 Awaiting Trial
(Bloomberg) -- The handful of parents who remain facing trial in the U.S. college admissions scandal dwindled further as California media executive Elisabeth Kimmel agreed to plead guilty.
Kimmel, who will admit to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, was to go on trial next month. Her plea deal reduces the number of parents fighting the charges in the nationwide case to six. She will be the 32nd parent to plead guilty.
Kimmel, 57, was accused of agreeing to pay at least $475,000 in bribes to get her daughter into Georgetown University as a purported tennis recruit and her son into the University of Southern California as a pole vaulter. She asked the court in May to dismiss her case, arguing a health condition could make testifying fatal.
She has agreed to serve a term of six weeks in prison, according to an announcement by the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston on Thursday. She has also agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and outstanding tax liabilities, according to the statement, which described her as the former chief executive of a California-based media company.
Kimmel will plead guilty Aug. 16 before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton. Robert Popeo, a lawyer for Kimmel, didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment on the announcement.
Kimmel was one of more than 50 people charged by federal prosecutors in Boston in 2019 in the largest college cheating case ever brought by the U.S. The government alleged a conspiracy in which parents paid the plot’s mastermind, a college admissions strategist, to fix their kids’ entrance exam scores, fake their resumes as star athletes or both.
The sprawling prosecution has claimed prominent figures in finance such as former Pimco chief Douglas Hodge and swept up entertainment fixtures like Lori Loughlin, as well as athletic coaches at elite schools across the country. As prosecutors added increasingly stiff charges and more parents struck deals to plead guilty, the planned trials got smaller and smaller. Next month’s trial will now include only three of the parents remaining in the case, with the final three to follow in January.
In her May filing, Kimmel said she was hospitalized with a heart issue after heavily armed federal agents raided her home in March 2019, and argued she would be risking her life if she took the witness stand.
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