New evidence shows Lori Loughlin’s daughter on rowing machine
abcNEWS– Federal prosecutors filed new evidence against actress Lori Loughlin and her husband in the case of the nationwide “Operation Varsity Blues,” in which the two are accused of using bribes and paying $500,000 to secure entry for their two daughters into the University of Southern California.
Among the new evidence was a photo of their eldest daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, on an ergometer machine. Prosecutors have said that Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, conspired to get their daughters into the college as rowing team member recruits, despite not having participated in a rowing crew.
The photo was emailed to William “Rick” Singer, who prosecutors identified as the ringleader of the scam, in September 2017, according to the new court documents filed in Boston federal court on Thursday.
About a year prior, Singer had told Giannulli that he would “create a coxswain profile” for their daughter and noted that it “would probably help to get a picture with her on an ERG in workout clothes like a real athlete too,” according to the documents.
Giannulli replied, “Fantastic. Will get all,” and later emailed the photo of his daughter posing on the stationary bike, according to prosecutors.
Lori Loughlin and Giannulli are set to appear in court on Oct. 5. They have pleaded not guilty and maintained that they believed the checks they wrote were legitimate donations that would support Singer’s charity or go directly to USC as a fundraising gift.
The new evidence was filed in response to a motion by Lori Loughlin to dismiss the indictment. Lori Loughlin and other parents allegedly involved asked the judge in March to dismiss the indictment after prosecutors released iPhone notes taken by Singer before he decided to cooperate with federal authorities.
Attorneys for the parents said the government withheld evidence that showed the FBI asking Singer to “tell a fib” about where he told the parents their money was going.
In the prosecutors’ response, they acknowledge that they should have turned over Singer’s notes earlier and said it was “simply a mistake.”
Prosecutors also said the notes do not exonerate the parents because their alleged criminal intent started long before Singer began cooperating. Singer pleaded guilty in a Boston federal court in March to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. He has yet to be sentenced.
The new evidence also included a memo written by their eldest daughter’s guidance counselor, which detailed an interaction he said he had with Giannulli.
The counselor told Giannulli he warned USC about Singer, to which Giannulli then allegedly launched “into an agitated stream of consciousness.”
The counselor said Giannulli was “astounded” that he had jeopardized his daughter’s college dreams and asked if he “had any idea who [his daughter] was and what she had going for her.”