Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli have just gone on the offensive, claiming federal prosecutors corruptly withheld evidence from them, which they say proves they bribed no one, and they further say the government withheld the evidence so it could squeeze the couple into accepting a plea bargain.
Lori and Mossimo claim in new legal docs, the money they gave Rick Singer to get their daughters into USC was a payment they believed was going to the University itself.
According to the docs, for months the government claimed it didn't have any exculpatory evidence showing the payment was not a bribe to then USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel.
According to the docs, after months of denials, prosecutors finally and belatedly turned over evidence and testimony from Rick Singer that tends to show NO BRIBE was offered ... at least that what Lori and Mossimo believed.
The docs state, "Rick Singer has advised the government, in sum and in substance, that ... the families that do the side door ...typically do not know that Heinel is involved until the time of the first payment."
Singer further stated, "Giannulli and Loughlin thought their payment of $50,000 went directly to USC's program." And, get this ... according to the docs, "The government clearly acknowledges that Giannulli and Loughlin's alleged 'bribe payments' did not go to any USC official personally, but rather went to USC itself."
As for the rest of the money, according to the docs, Singer told prosecutors Lori and Mossimo "thought their $200,000 payment went to [Singer's charity] with some of the funds then 'going to a USC program.'"
And, according to the docs, prosecutors have internal USC emails in which they offer to "flag" one daughter's application and take a customized tour of the campus "to discuss the impact of [Giannulli's] philanthropy."
This is really a core to the case because there's nothing illegal about contributing to the University. In fact, in the docs, USC "has an institutional practice of tightly intertwining admissions and fundraising." They point to then USC Athletic Director Pat Hayden, who reportedly said Lori and Mossimo were "good for a million plus" in connection with their daughters' admission.
The docs say while the government withheld this evidence, prosecutors "launched a months-long campaign to pressure Defendants into pleading guilty." Apparently, when prosecutors realized the couple wasn't playing ball, they finally released the evidence.