The defense attorneys have asked that the judge throw the case out because they claim federal agents pressured cooperating witness, admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, to entrap the parents into criminal conduct. Loughlin’s attorneys cited the notes Singer took, where he complained he was being asked by federal agents to “bend the truth” in calls with his clients, according to The Boston Globe.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton wrote in an order that the defense allegations raised serious ethical concerns he cannot ignore.
"The court considers the allegations in Singer’s October notes to be serious and disturbing,'' he wrote. “While government agents are permitted to coach cooperating witnesses during the course of an investigation, they are not permitted to suborn the commission of a crime.”
Loughlin, and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are facing bribery, fraud, and money laundering charges, for allegedly paying $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California. The trial is currently set for October.
Their defense has argued that the couple thought they were making a donation to the school, and that federal agents coached Singer not to offer any explanation in his calls with them in October.
“They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where their money was going — to the program not the coach [sic] and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment,” Singer wrote.
In a three-page order on Friday, the judge instructed the prosecutors to reply to the claims that Singer had been coached to incriminate Loughlin and his other clients.
The federal government claims that the overall evidence shows that the couple, and others awaiting trial for participating in the scam, were fully aware they were committing fraud. In one damning example, Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly concocted a fake athletic profile to have their daughters admitted as crew recruits, including photos of Oliva Jade and Isabella Rose on rowing machines.