From the very start of the college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's main line of defense was that their $500,000 USD financial contribution to the University of Southern California was a donation and not a bribe. On Wednesday, U.S. federal prosecutors filed further documentation — 386 pages worth of evidence — that claims Loughlin and Giannulli knew far more about the nature of their arrangement with college counselor William “Rick” Singer than they have admitted, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Among the court filings, which include "phone transcripts, text messages, emails, financial records, and other documents obtained through wiretaps, search warrants, and grand jury subpoenas," is a picture of Giannulli and Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade on a rowing machine. The image was emailed in 2017 from Giannulli to Singer, the so-called private college counselor and ringleader who has already pleaded guilty to fabricating information in order to get students into Ivy League schools. Prosecutors assert this image further shows that Giannulli and Loughlin were aware that they had to show their daughter was part of a rowing team, which would help her get into USC.
Another piece of damaging evidence includes a verbal exchange between Giannulli and Philip Petrone, Olivia Jade's college counselor at Marymount High School in Los Angeles. The memo details that in 2018 Petrone had raised concerns over Olivia Jade's rowing experience and that her parents were working with Singer, who Petrone believed was giving false information to college admissions. The memo alleges that Giannulli visited Petrone at the high school and demanded to know why he was trying to prevent his daughter from getting into USC.
Petrone recalled Giannulli saying if he "had any idea who [his daughter] was and what she had going for her," the L.A. Times reports. He added in the memo, "I told him I was well aware of her YouTube channel and video blogs regarding style, make-up, and fashion." Petrone said that he wrote in Olivia Jade's letter of recommendation that she was "a guru in her field with a bright future." But Petrone alleges that Giannulli wasn't satisfied. Giannulli wanted to make sure Petrone would also tell USC that Olivia Jade was part of a rowing team, which Petrone said he would do.
The newly released evidence comes as a direct response to Giannulli and Loughlin's attempt to dismiss the case. The couple alleged in February that the government coerced Singer into lying about the college scheme to implicate them further. The trial is scheduled to resume in October.