Amid the college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin now urges the court to release more evidence that could help her defense

By Benjamin VanHoose
December 16, 2019 09:41 AM
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Lori Loughlin is urging courts to release evidence that she claims could help prove her innocence in the ongoing college admissions scandal.

In court documents filed Friday, attorney Sean Berkowitz, who represents Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, claims evidence that could be used to strengthen their case is being withheld by prosecution because it was deemed irrelevant and immaterial.

By sharing FBI interview statements from William “Rick” Singer, the man at the center of the college admission scandal, the celebrity couple’s defense team hopes to show that Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, didn’t know their donations would be used as bribes. The motion asserts that not sharing the evidence prevents a fair trial.

“But the Government appears to be concealing exculpatory evidence that helps show that both Defendants believed all of the payments they made would go to USC itself — for legitimate, university-approved purposes — or to other legitimate charitable causes,” read the motion, which was filed at Massachusetts’ U.S. District Court.

The document continued: “The Government’s failure to disclose this information is unacceptable, and this Court should put a stop to it.”

The United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts declined to comment.

Lori Loughlin
Steven Senne/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The Full House actress and her fashion designer husband allegedly paid $500,000 to admissions consultant Singer (and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation, or “KWF”) to falsely designate daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, 20, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 21, as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport.

In addition to charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, Loughlin and Giannulli were handed an additional federal charge in October: one count each of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery. They have pleaded not guilty.

The defense team, in the court documents, says it’s key to the case how the parents were told their monetary donations were to be spent. In releasing the Singer statements, they think it can show that Loughlin wasn’t aware the money would be used for bribery.

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“As noted, in making their case to the jury, Giannulli and Loughlin intend to present evidence that they reasonably believed KWF was a bona fide charitable organization, and that their payments to KWF would support programs geared toward helping underprivileged children,” reads the filing.

A source previously told PEOPLE that Loughlin believes she has a “valid defense.”

“Lori in particular has become extremely well-versed in the case,” the insider said at the time. “She’s an active participant in her own defense.”

The source added: “She feels like she’s got a valid defense, and that when all the evidence comes out, that she won’t be found guilty. She still is looking into the avenues to defend herself against what she thinks is a meritless charge.”