(CNN) — Attorneys for parents in the college admissions scandal case, including Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, filed a collection of motions to the dismiss charges against them in Massachusetts federal court Wednesday.
One memo filed on behalf of 14 defendants including Loughlin and Giannulli argues that charges should be dismissed because the venue was chosen to “accommodate the government’s venue preferences.”
The motion says in reality the alleged scheme described in the indictment involves “moving defendants, residing outside of Massachusetts, conspired outside of Massachusetts, with an individual from outside of Massachusetts to obtain admission to universities outside of Massachusetts. For Moving Defendants, the purported crimes have no connection to Massachusetts which could establish venue.”
Loughlin didn’t participate in quid pro quo, attorneys argue
In one motion, attorneys for Loughlin and her husband say they shouldn’t be charged with honest services fraud because they didn’t knowingly participate in a quid pro quo with the University of Southern California. The attorneys say the couple thought they were making a legitimate donation and had no knowledge that the checks they wrote would personally benefit the involved administrators.
The memo further claims notes on scandal mastermind Rick Singer’s phone previously withheld by the government prove the government “coerced Singer to lie when making his scripted, recorded calls to his clients long after their children had been admitted, and directed Singer not to mention on the calls that he had previously told the clients their payments would be ‘donation[s]’ that would go to the [university] program [and] not the coach.”
Last week, Loughlin, Giannulli, and other defendants similarly filed a motion to dismiss the charges against them alleging prosecutorial misconduct, according to court documents.
Attorneys: misled led the court
The defense argued, as they have previously, that the government has mishandled evidence, specifically regarding recordings of Singer speaking with the defendants and other notes allegedly taken by Singer during interactions with investigators. They also allege Singer was pressured by prosecutors during his recorded calls with the defendants.
Another motion for dismissal argues the evidence the government obtained from the four wiretaps of Singer’s phone and e-mail accounts and recorded phone calls he willingly participated in as a government cooperator should be thrown out because the government misled the court to get it.
Defense attorneys argue the government misled the court to get certain evidence, noting Singer willingly cooperated with the government in four wiretaps of his phone, e-mails and phone calls and that evidence should be thrown out.
“The Government misrepresented or omitted material facts regarding this evidence, and never even mentioned the possibility of approaching Singer to serve as a cooperator,” the memo says.
Attorneys ask to drop conspiracy and other charges
All 14 defendants are charged with money laundering and attorneys argue those charges should be dropped because, by definition, money laundering would have had to take place after the parents wrote checks to Singer’s foundations. Whatever monies were transferred to test proctors and college administrators after that aren’t the responsibility of the defendants, attorneys argue in another new filing.
All 14 defendants also moved to dismiss counts alleging conspiracy to defraud testing companies of property and honest services.
The defense team argues that standardized test scores are not a traditional form of property so they can’t fall under charges related to mail and wire fraud statutes.
The government also can’t prove the test administrator who allegedly aided the cheating scandal has a fiduciary relationship with the testing companies, ACT or College Board, because he was an independent contractor, according to the filing.
A group motion filed argues for dismissal of the charges on a federal rule technicality because the parents are only connected by their interactions with Rick Singer, and they say they didn’t at any point actually conspire with each other.
Should the charges not be dropped, multiple defendants moved to sever their charges from the group indictment because they say their cases are different.
If the judge will not dismiss the charges, the defense team requested an evidentiary hearing and other pre-trial appearances, according to the filings.
Loughlin, Giannulli and six other parents are scheduled to stand trial in October 2020.
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