Lori Loughlin's Daughters' Rowing Photos Released By Prosecutors in College Bribery Case
By Rachel McRady
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Lori Loughlin's claims in her motion to dismiss the college bribery case have been denied by the U.S. Attorney.
Prosecutors released a lengthy response to a motion filed by the 55-year-old actress' lawyers last month, in which they staunchly denied allegations of misconduct and, as part of their filing, included two photos showing the actress's daughters on rowing machines.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team, though neither of them had ever participated in the sport.
In the latest court docs, obtained by ET on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney is also alleging that Giannulli falsely claimed to a high school counselor that his daughter was a rower.
As part of the new docs, prosecutors included two photos, allegedly taken by Giannulli, showing both daughters using the rowing machines. Prosecutors allege the photos were used to back up Giannulli's false claims regarding their daughters' rowing experience.
According to Loughlin's motion, and a subsequent memo supporting the dismissal motion, Loughlin's lawyers alleged that prosecutors acted inappropriately in regards to one of their main witnesses -- bribery scam ring-leader Rick Singer -- and that they tried to conceal exculpatory evidence.
In the court documents obtained by ET on Wednesday, the government claims there is no basis for the dismissal request.
“The defendants’ core allegations of misconduct are premised on a straw man: that this case is only about bribery. It is not," the response reads. “The defendants are charged with conspiring to engage in a single, sweeping scheme to gain admission for their children to college by, among other things, lying about their academic and athletic qualifications so that complicit coaches, induced by bribes styled as 'donations' to their programs, could purport to recruit them as elite athletes.”
The response goes on to note, "Just because neither [scam ring leader Rick] Singer nor the defendants actually used the word 'bribe' to describe the purported donations doesn’t mean that they were legitimate."
Additionally, on Friday, days after federal prosecutors revealed the photos, the couple's attorneys fired back in newly-filed court documents claiming that the new evidence linked to the alleged college admissions scandal mastermind, "undermines the Government’s allegations, cast doubt on its evidence, and support Defendants’ innocence—and thus should have been produced long ago."
The court documents, obtained by ET, continue, "Defendants could not have addressed this information in their opening brief because the Government had not yet produced the material. This new development provides necessary context to the scope of the Government’s pattern of misconduct, and informs the appropriate remedy."
Loughlin and Giannulli's attorneys claim in the documents that on April 1, 2020, prosecutors produced approximately 230,000 files from Singer’s laptop that have been in the possession of the government since November 2018, four months before Loughlin and Giannulli were charged. The couple's attorneys claim prosecutors "produced these files unprocessed and unlabeled, which has significantly hindered" the defenses review.
Both Giannulli and Loughlin have pleaded not guilty to all charges leveled against them, claiming their payments were donations to the school and not bribes.
As for Loughlin and Giannulli's attorneys alleging that prosecutors tried to conceal exculpatory evidence, the prosecutors said this was "simply an error," adding that the government has since disclosed the evidence months ahead of the couple's October trial.
For more on the upcoming court case, watch the clip below: