Judge in Loughlin Case: 'Disturbing' Defense Allegations

Federal judge wants more info from prosecutors on claims FBI investigators asked Rick Singer to lie
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2020 8:15 AM CDT
Judge in Loughlin Case: 'Disturbing' Defense Allegations
FIn this April 3, 2019, file photo, actress Lori Loughlin, front, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, left, depart federal court in Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Lori Loughlin and other parents involved in the college admissions bribery scandal have been trying to get charges against them dropped, claiming misconduct by FBI investigators, and a federal judge now wants more information from prosecutors, calling the allegations "serious and disturbing." Defense attorneys say that Loughlin and 13 other parents believed they were making legitimate donations to college programs, not trying to bribe college officials—and that notes from William "Rick" Singer, said to be the mastermind behind the scandal, prove that's the case, per USA Today. Singer, who became a government informant and cooperating witness, took notes on his iPhone after speaking with FBI investigators in October 2018, conversations in which Singer complained he was told to "bend the truth" during recorded calls with his clients, Variety reports.

Singer wrote in his notes that "loud and abrasive" FBI agents wanted him to get his clients to say during the recorded calls that they knew they were trying to make bribes, which Singer says he never told them. "The Court considers the allegations in Singer's October notes to be serious and disturbing," US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton noted in a written order to prosecutors Friday. "While government agents are permitted to coach cooperating witnesses during the course of an investigation, they are not permitted to suborn the commission of a crime." Defense attorneys also say prosecutors, who have until May 1 to respond to Gorton's order, withheld the notes until February. Prosecutors admit they made a "mistake" not turning over the notes but still contend crimes were committed, per Yahoo. Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are due at trial in October for fraud, bribery, and money laundering, (More Lori Loughlin stories.)

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