Parents 'crossed a line' in U.S. college scandal, prosecutor tells jury

Parents ‘crossed a line’ in U.S. college scandal, prosecutor tells jury

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    BOSTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – A federal prosecutor on the finish of the primary trial in the U.S. college admissions scandal on Wednesday argued that two fathers made “dirty” offers to purchase their children’ manner into universities, as protection attorneys countered that they by no means meant to bribe anybody.

    Assistant U.S. Lawyer Stephen Frank advised the Boston jury that former on line casino govt Gamal Aziz and personal fairness agency founder John Wilson have been caught on tape discussing get their kids into universities by means of fraud and bribery.

    Frank mentioned Aziz and Wilson paid lots of of hundreds of {dollars} to have corrupt college insiders designate their kids as sports activities recruits, securing spots for 2 of them on the College of Southern California (USC).

    Frank mentioned they did so with the assistance of the scheme’s mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, a California college admissions advisor whose purchasers would “stop at nothing to get their children admitted to the college of their choice.”

    “These parents were not willing to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Frank mentioned in his closing argument. “And to get to ‘yes,’ they crossed a line.”

    Protection attorneys countered that Aziz and Wilson have been conned themselves by Singer, who saved them in the darkish about his scheme’s mechanics and led them to imagine their cash was getting used for college donations, not bribes.

    “John never intended to pay a bribe,” mentioned Michael Kendall, Wilson’s lawyer. “He always thought he was giving a donation to the program.”

    Brian Kelly, Aziz’s lawyer, accused prosecutors of not calling Singer – the star cooperating witness in the probe – to testify as a result of they have been afraid he would admit underneath protection questioning he by no means advised Aziz he was becoming a member of a nationwide conspiracy.

    “Let’s get back to reality here,” Kelly mentioned.

    Aziz and Wilson are amongst 57 folks charged in the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation, which ensnared enterprise executives and celebrities. They included actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who have been amongst 47 individuals who agreed to plead responsible.

    Singer pleaded responsible in 2019 to facilitating dishonest on college entrance exams and funneling cash from the dad and mom to deprave coaches and athletics officers in order to safe the admission of their kids as faux athletes.

    In his closing argument, Frank mentioned Aziz, also referred to as Gamal Abdelaziz, agreed in 2018 to pay $300,000 to safe his daughter’s admission to USC as a basketball recruit.

    The prosecutor mentioned Wilson, the founder Hyannis Port Capital, in 2014 paid $220,000 to have his son falsely designated a USC water polo recruit.

    Kendall countered that Wilson’s son, who was on his highschool’s swim group, was removed from an illegitimate recruit and attended water polo practices. Frank mentioned what mattered was the daddy’s intent earlier than his son attended USC, not after.

    He cited a later “dirty deal” Wilson struck with Singer in 2018 to pay $1.5 million to fraudulently safe spots for his two daughters at Stanford and Harvard universities, an association Singer mentioned with him on recorded calls whereas cooperating.

    Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston
    Enhancing by Will Dunham and Invoice Berkrot

    Nate Raymond

    Nate Raymond experiences on the federal judiciary and litigation. He may be reached at [email protected]