Government denies misconduct allegations in admissions case

The federal government filed a response in the college admissions case Wednesday refuting allegations that it deliberately delayed releasing relevant evidence to the defense.

In the response, the prosecution accused the parents of misrepresenting the case as solely about bribery. The government argued that the parents’ intent to defraud universities and testing companies by falsifying athletic recruitment profiles, paying for their children’s admission under the guise of philanthropy and cheating on college entrance exams made them guilty with or without the bribery charges.

“The defendants’ brief, despite its comprehensive catalogue of alleged government misconduct, tries to sanitize their actions by ignoring any mention of the larger fraud scheme within which the alleged bribery occurred,” the document read. “But their claims, and the evidence in this case, must be viewed in the context of the actual indictment, not the imaginary one they would prefer to fight.”

The response comes after the parents filed a motion last week requesting that their charges be dropped on the grounds that the case was not tied to Massachusetts despite being tried in Boston federal court. It also follows the submission of a memorandum last month alleging that the government had coerced scheme organizer William “Rick” Singer into falsely stating he had not misled parents to believe their bribes to university officials would be donated to legitimate school programs and accusing prosecutors of scripting testimonies for Singer to paint the parents’ actions in a more negative light.

“The disclosures also reveal the lengths to which the Government went to micromanage the

substance of Singer’s recorded consensual calls to generate incriminating evidence — and to hide those efforts from Defendants,” the memorandum read. “The Government was

coaching Singer to avoid mention of accurate but exculpatory material that would muddy the

black-and-white picture of wrongdoing it sought to create through Singer’s calls.”

In the response, the government quoted emails between Singer and each of the defendants sent during the scheme that it said proved the parents intentionally fabricated application materials and disguised payments thereto as charitable donations. It also argued that the parents could be proven guilty even without Singer’s witness statements. The response cited findings from a four-month investigation into the admissions scheme, including wiretaps of the defendants’ phone calls and emails, that the FBI launched in June 2018 — three months before Singer began cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Trials for the 14 parents, including 11 with USC ties, who opted to plead not guilty in the Operation Varsity Blues case are set to begin in October and continue through early 2021. Coaches and officials fighting charges will likely stand trial next year after the court issues the parents’ verdicts.