Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California

By Robyn Merrett
January 31, 2020 10:55 PM
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Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are striking back against prosecutors in their college admissions scam case, claiming the attorneys waited until this week to release evidence that shows the Full House star and her designer husband never agreed to “bribe payments.”

In a memorandum filed on Friday and obtained by PEOPLE, Loughlin and Giannulli slammed prosecutors for failing to hand over “exculpatory” evidence that they say would help prove their innocence.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, also claim in the filing that the evidence has been hidden since May.

Included in the evidence, according to the filing, are statements from William “Rick” 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 — 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.”

Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin
| Credit: Donato Sardella/Getty Images for LACMA

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.

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“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.”

A rep for Loughlin had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.

The new development comes after Loughlin urged courts to release the evidence in December.

In the initial request to the judge for an order directing that documents be produced, attorney Sean Berkowitz, who represents Loughlin and her husband, claimed evidence that could be used to strengthen their case was being withheld by the prosecution because it was wrongly deemed irrelevant and immaterial.

“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.

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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 and Mossimo 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.