Since the mastermind of the college admissions scandal, William Singer pleaded guilty last March to racketeering and other charges, he was mostly off-stage, Paddleboarding and enjoying the California sun When many of his former clients were jailed.
But this week, Mr Singer, who admitted to running a scheme to cheat college coaches for admitting students to elite schools, was once again the center of attention. Actress Laurie Laughlin and other parents’ lawyers say that the notes Mr. Singer took while cooperating with federal investigators proved that they had pushed him to lie to inform his clients.
They say that Mr Singer’s own words imply that the parents were not involved in a conspiracy to bribe coaches because the defendants had argued, and they accused prosecutors of sitting on evidence for months to violate their legal obligations.
Mr Singer wrote in a note on October 22, 2018, with a number of typos and misspellings, “loud and disgusting call with agents.” “They kept asking me to call a fib and not retrieve what I told my clients about where the money was going – the program had no coaches and it was a grant and they wanted it to be a payment.”
He also added that the agents were basically telling me to “bend the truth.”
At a hearing Thursday, a federal judge called the prosecutorial misconduct “extremely serious,” but did not rule out the issue, instructing the parties to file further motions.
Ms. Laughlin’s lawyers filed in a courtroom on Wednesday that the evidence in Mr Singer’s note was “devastating to the government’s case and showed that the government improperly withheld the original irrational information, rather than pursuing the obligation to judge” forever.
An Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eric S. Rosen, told the judge that the delay in making the note led the government to believe that they were covered by the attorney-client privilege.
Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, a Massachusetts District Court judge in the United States, set a trial date for half of the 15 parents, including Mrs. Laughlin. The judge said the rest of the parents will be tried in January.
Twenty parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman has already admitted the blame. Many of them have been sentenced, including up to nine months in prison.
The significance of Mr. Singer’s notes raises a question that has been advocated by some parents as necessary for their defense: Did parents knowingly agree with Mr. Singer about bribing coaches and other athletic officials, or did Mr. Singer lead them? Do they believe they were donating to athletic programs that would give their kids an advantage in the admissions process? Lawyers have argued that if parents believe they are donating, it is not a crime.
In the notes taken on the iPhone, Mr. Singer suggested that this was a sticking point as he discussed with federal agents what to say in recorded calls to parents, so they were supposed to come to him to confirm their work.
Apparently referring to an agent, he wrote: “Liz made her voice to me in the hotel room as if she had agreed to bribe her to all the schools. This time, I was telling them to agree to a lie. “
Mr. Singer went to discuss with one of the parents, Gordon Kaplan, who paid Proctor $ 75,000 to get the correct answer to his daughter’s ACT test. Mr Caplan, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a month in jail, was co-chairman of a large New York law firm before his arrest.
“They want to nail Gordon at any cost,” Mr Singer writes of agents.
At Thursday’s hearing, one of Mrs Laughlin’s lawyers, William J. Trach, briefly in his own words, upset Mr Singer: “The government wants to tell me this is a bribe – what I told my parents was a grant, not a bribe. They want me to lie. They’re yelling at me “
“The fact that anyone who made a donation to the United States is not a crime with the goal of enrolling their child in the United States,” Mr Trach added, referring to the University of Southern California. Mrs. Laughlin and her husband Mosimo Gianuli are accused of paying in the United States. Admissions to the department and their two daughters Mr. Singer is a foundation set up to bring The women were recruited by the crew, despite not being part of the crew.
Later on Thursday, on behalf of other parents who pleaded not guilty, the lawyer requested the court to turn down the audio of a phone call between Mr. Singer and federal agents asking the government to “loud and abrasive Mr. Singer.” In addition, lawyers for the two parents who pleaded guilty, Elizabeth and Manuel Heiner Kuyeja, Mr. Singer in the light of new evidence from the phone, scheduled for next week had to suspend their punishment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mr Rosen disputes that the notes have upset the government’s case. Even when Mr Singer described the payment as a donation, he told the judge that the parents knew that their children, who did not play competitively or at all, were being misrepresented as sports athletes.
“In the United States or any other school,” he said, “there is no valid admission process for fake rovers, fake football players, fake poll-vaulters or fake anything.”