LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In response to a motion from actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli that the college admissions scandal case against them be thrown out, federal prosecutors Wednesday released photos of the couple’s two daughters on rowing machines.
The images were disclosed as part of a 423-page filing in federal court in Boston arguing against allegations from Loughlin’s lawyers that prosecutors withheld evidence and engaged in misconduct.
The 55-year-old Loughlin and the 56-year-old Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to Newport Beach businessman Rick Singer to get their two daughters into USC as members of the crew team, even though neither had ever rowed crew.
The two photos, according to court documents, were emailed from Giannulli to Singer.
The first was sent on Sept. 7, 2016. It shows Isabella Rose on a rowing machine. Her face has been blurred out.
It was in response to an email which Singer sent to Mossimo and Loughlin on Aug. 18, 2016, in which he wrote, in part, “It would probably help to get a picture with her on an ERG in workout clothes like a real athlete too,” court documents read.
The second photo, sent on July 28, 2017, shows Isabella’s younger sister, Olivia Jade, also on a rowing machine. Her face has also been blurred.
Loughlin and Giannulli are set to go to trial in October on one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.
Back in February, the couple’s defense attorneys submitted legal filings based on new evidence they received from prosecutors which they argued bolsters their claim that they believed their $500,000 in payments were legitimate donations to USC, not bribes.
That same week prosecutors had turned over notes from Singer’s iPhone, defense attorneys said. Singer says 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.
The defense attorneys argued that federal prosecutors had withheld evidence by not turning over the notes earlier.
However, prosecutors told the judge in their legal filing Wednesday that he should reject the parents’ attempt to dismiss the charges, calling their claims of government misconduct “baseless.”
“Criminal defendants are entitled to a vigorous defense. But making baseless claims that evidence was fabricated to frame innocent parties goes too far,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Frank wrote.
Frank said prosecutors’ failure to hand over the notes earlier was “simply a mistake” and didn’t cause any harm to the defense. Prosecutors say they first discovered the notes in October 2018 but didn’t review them further because they believed they were written for his attorney and were protected by attorney-client privilege.
In early February, federal prosecutors released a copy of a phony resume for Olivia Jade which purports to list her fake achievements in the sport of rowing. In January, prosecutors released a trove of emails and call recording logs between Giannulli, Loughlin and Singer. The emails revealed how USC was trying to court one of the daughters — even as prosecutors said the couple was plotting to get her admitted as a fake rower.
On March 12, 2019, the FBI charged 50 people — including 35 parents and nine coaches — in a massive bribery scheme in which wealthy families paid millions to Singer to help their children cheat on standardized tests and bribe test administrators and college coaches to help get their kids into top universities like UCLA, USC, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown.
So far at least 20 parents, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman — who served a 14-day sentence in October — have pleaded guilty in the scandal and 15 of those have been sentenced. Another 15, including Loughlin and Giannulli, are fighting the charges.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)