“Full House” star Lori Loughlin and more than a dozen other parents embroiled in the sweeping college admissions scandal are asking a judge to dismiss their case on the basis that the charges have no link to the Massachusetts court handling the matter, court papers show.
Loughlin, fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 12 others submitted a “Motion to Dismiss For Lack of Venue” on Wednesday in which they argued that they have a constitutional right to a trial in a court where the alleged crimes took place, Law360 reported.
Lori Loughlin, front, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, depart federal court in Boston on April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
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The indictment, according to the motion, “describes a scheme in which moving defendants, residing outside of Massachusetts, conspired outside of Massachusetts, with an individual from outside of Massachusetts to obtain admission to universities outside of Massachusetts,” the defendants said. “For moving defendants, the purported crimes have no connection to Massachusetts which could establish venue,” the outlet reported.
The parents are allegedly part of a vast conspiracy ring that came to light in March 2019 in which more than 50 parents were charged in a federal investigation, now known as “Varsity Blues.”
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Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying approximately $500,000 to create nonexistent positions for their daughters on the University of Southern California’s crew team, even though neither had ever taken part in the sport. They allegedly sent photos of their daughters on ergometers, or rowing machines, on different dates months apart, court papers show.
Lori Loughlin and her two daughters in this undated photo. (Associated Press)
Other parents were charged for their alleged involvement in similar schemes and at other schools, or for paying special proctors to fix their standardized tests.
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The government has claimed the mastermind of the whole scheme, William “Rick” Singer, made calls to the parents from Massachusetts, which prosecutors have linked to fraud conspiracy charges.
But the defendants argued that these calls were made after Singer was working with the government as an informant, which effectively ended the alleged conspiracy, according to Law360.
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Loughlin and Giannulli’s attorneys have previously accused the government of “prosecutorial misconduct,” including withholding exculpatory evidence.
In one case, the defense tried to dismiss the matter by alleging prosecutors withheld evidence that would support the parents' argument that their payments were legitimate donations, not bribes, which would go directly to USC as a fundraising gift or support Singer’s charity.
William Rick Singer, left, walks into the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 12, 2019. (Getty Images)
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Singer wrote in the notes that FBI agents yelled at him and told him to lie to get parents to say things in recorded phone calls that could be used against them. Singer wrote that FBI agents told him to say that he told parents the payments were bribes.
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Nearly two dozen other parents have pleaded guilty in the case, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.