Will Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli actually be able to get out of this one??
You may remember earlier this month that filed court documents claimed the government was hiding evidence which proved they were innocent; prosecutors responded by giving defense attorneys everything — approximately 1.9 MILLION documents — which the lawyers actually complained was too much evidence.
But they clearly found what they were looking for pretty quickly because on Wednesday, Moss and Lori’s attorney Sean Berkowitz claimed in a new filing to have the smoking gun — or non-smoking gun we guess? — proving his clients were set up by the government!
Berkowitz filed to have the trial moved back after having gotten hold of Rick Singer‘s notes on the case. As you likely know by now, Singer was the mastermind behind the college admissions scandal, acting as a middleman between desperate, wealthy parents and crooked university officials and creating a wide-ranging system of bribes through a fake charity he created call the Key Worldwide Foundation.
Singer was also the first person busted and the FBI used him to get “recorded phone calls that they directed him to make to his clients in order to induce inculpatory statements to be used against those clients.”
Yes, we know this. It’s in the indictment. Singer was busted and agreed to cooperate with the FBI. Sometimes, as we know from every gangster movie ever, that means wearing a wire.
And no one actually thinks “flipping ought to be illegal” except Tony Soprano and the current President of the United States.
However, Berkowitz says these calls went beyond just getting his alleged co-conspirators to acknowledge their crimes. Per the filing:
“Singer’s notes indicate that FBI agents yelled at him and instructed him to lie by saying that he told his clients who participated in the alleged ‘side door’ scheme that their payments were bribes, rather than legitimate donations that went to the schools… They further note the Government’s desire to ‘nail’ one of the defendants ‘at all costs.’”
They told him to lie? Wait, is he saying he was forced to admit to crimes he didn’t commit because the bad g-men were being mean to him??
No, the Giannullis don’t care about saving Singer — who has to be the most ironically named flipper of all time. Berkowitz is making the argument only the stuff about the parents knowing they were committing crimes was a lie. According to his filing, Singer wrote:
“They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where their money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment. Essentially, they are asking me to bend the truth… Liz raised her voice to me like she did in the hotel room about agreeing with her that everyone bribed the schools. This time about asking each person to agree to a lie I was telling them.”
That’s the key here. Aunt Becky is claiming she thought she was making legitimate college donations and had no idea she was being fooled by this scheme. Then when Singer called her and she acknowledged committing these crimes — all evidence which is available to the public on the original indictment — he was lying, and she was going along with it. Because… she was being fooled again?
Yeah, we’re not actually sure how they’re trying to say the yelling FBI agents somehow made the people they never talked to ALSO lie and implicate themselves in crimes.
But what Berkowitz says about these notes is pretty striking:
“The government has not revealed how Singer responded. Indeed, the fact that the government has never alleged that Singer told Giannulli and Loughlin that their payments were going to Heinel personally is a strong reason to believe he told them the opposite — that their payments were legitimate.”
That… doesn’t really follow. Not mentioning the name of the USC official getting the bribe makes perfect sense with this scheme — that’s why you have a middleman, it’s extra protection for the conspirators (allegedly). Just because they didn’t know which faculty member they were bribing (allegedly) doesn’t mean they didn’t know what they were doing was bribery and fraud (allegedly).
It also doesn’t mean Aunt Becky somehow actually thought her daughters really were champion rowers all those years, and she just hadn’t noticed because she was too busy solving mysteries on the Hallmark Channel… right? Tell us we’re not the only ones scratching our heads here.
Anyway, Berkowitz continues:
“The supplemental discovery produced today demonstrates that the government was simply not being truthful. Singer told agents working on the case the exact information we have been seeking in discovery, and those agents attempted to bully him into lying and saying something different. This belated discovery, which should have been produced no later than 30 days after indictment, is devastating to the government’s case.”
OK, let’s say Singer did tell the government the parents had no idea they were involved in anything illegal. Then FBI agents yelled at him, and he said, OK fine they knew — but he was LYING? Then the FBI yelled some more, and he agreed to call up the parents and continued to LIE on the phone — and for some reason all these parents agreed with what he was saying, essentially LYING about their own involvement in the scheme? Then after the huge arrest, over half those parents LIED again by pleading guilty to the crimes they were charged with?!?!?
That would mean Felicity Huffman spent 15 minutes in jail for nothing! LOLz!
But seriously, we’re not sure this is as devastating to the government’s case as Berkowitz is making out. But will it convince a jury who grew up on Full House? Guess we’ll see!
What do YOU think about Lori’s defense team putting the FBI on trial??
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