Lori Loughlin's Attorney Makes Bombshell Claim That the FBI Told Rick Singer to Lie About Her Knowledge
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Rick Singer allegedly says he was yelled at by a federal agent about "agreeing with her that everyone bribed the schools"
An attorney for Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli has filed a motion to have the decision on his clients’ trial date postponed after claiming to have explosive evidence that allegedly reveals college admissions scam ring leader Rick Singer was told to lie by the FBI about Loughlin and Giannulli’s knowledge of bribes being paid.
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Loughlin and Giannulli’s attorney Sean M. Berkowitz explains that prosecutors have released previously withheld “exonerating” information about the couple, who have been charged with bribery.
The alleged information includes written notes by Singer — the man at the center of the scandal and the founder and CEO of the company The Key: a Private Life Coaching and Counseling Company — that detail concerning conversations he had with the FBI about “recorded phone calls that they directed him to make to his clients in order to induce inculpatory statements to be used against those clients.”
“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 in the alleged ‘side door’ scheme that their payments were bribes, rather than legitimate donations that went to the schools,” Berkowitz states in the court documents.
“They further note the Government’s desire to ‘nail’ one of the defendants ‘at all costs,'” according to Loughlin and Giannulli’s attorney.
In what the attorney’s claim is Singer’s “own” notes, he described “loud and abrasive calls” with FBI agents.
“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,” Singer allegedly wrote in his notes, the court documents reveal.
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“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,” Singer allegedly wrote about what appears to be one federal agent.
Now with this new information, Berkowitz is hoping to figure out whether or not Singer actually told Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, their donations were bribes or if their donations were going to the school.
“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 they payments were legitimate,” Berkowitz states in the court documents.
“The supplemental discovery produced today demonstrates that the government was simply not being truthful,” Loughlin and Giannulli’s attorneys state. “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.”
In January, PEOPLE reported that Loughlin and Giannulli filed a memorandum, slamming prosecutors for failing to hand over “exculpatory” evidence that they say would help prove their innocence. The couple claimed to be under the impression that their payments for each daughter went to USC.
Loughlin and Giannulli also claim in the filing that the evidence has been hidden since May. It is understood the exhibit in Wednesday’s filing is from the information requested from the prosecutors.
Included in the evidence, according to the filing, are statements from Singer, who said “families that do the side door (admissions scheme) typically do not know that [Donna] Heinel is involved until the time of the first payment.”
Heinel is USC’s former associate athletic director, who allegedly worked with multiple parents to get their children into the school.
The court filing also states that Singer told FBI agents that he told Loughlin and Giannulli “that the first $50,000 for each girl went to USC.”
The couple “thought their payment of $50,000 went directly to USC’s program,” Singer said, according to the filing. Furthermore, Singer said the money Loughlin and Giannulli paid to his foundation was believed to also go to a USC program.
“The government clearly acknowledges that Giannulli and Loughlin’s alleged ‘bribe payments’ did not go to any USC official personally, but rather were given as donations to USC itself,” the filing states. “There is no evidence the defendants somehow knew these payments to USC were personal bribes designed to compensate Heinel for betraying her employer.”
The development came after Loughlin’s lawyer urged courts to release the evidence in December.
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to admissions consultant Singer 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 to all charges.