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Bridging The Gap
College admissions scandal: Parents say payments to ringleader weren't bribes
  Monday 03 June, 2019
College admissions scandal: Parents say payments to ringleader weren\'t bribes

BOSTON Federal prosecutors say they've turned over 3 million pages of evidence to defense attorneys in their case against wealthy parents fighting charges in the nation's largest-ever college admissions scandal.

But the parents' lawyers, at a court hearing Monday, asked for access to additional reports they say detail investigators' interviews with other parents who have not been charged in the sweeping "Varsity Blues" case.

The defense said these reports FBI documents known as a "302" show the scheme's ringleader Rick Singer told parents not charged with crimes that their payments to his nonprofit would go to a university or a college athletics program, not to bribe anyone.

Federal Magistrate Page Kelley denied the defense's request to certify the documents as exculpatory evidence for now, saying she wants to see the case play out. But the exchange could preview a central defense argument of parents preparing for trial: namely, that they thought they were making charitable donations and didn't know Singer was using the money to pay off coaches and others.

Aaron Katz, an attorney for Elizabeth Henriquez, a mother from Atherton, California accused of paying bribes of $400,000 to get her two children into college, told the judge that prosecutors may have spoken to other parents who paid Singer but have not been charged.

"They told the government (that) Rick Singer told them that their money was going to go to athletic programs or schools, not to bribes," he said.

He added: "That goes to the heart of the honest services charge a bribe and a breach in exchange for the breach of their fiduciary duty."

U.S. Assistant Attorney Eric Rosen objected to their request for the FBI documents and their argument about what constitutes a bribe. "We are not going to hand over all our 302s will-nilly because defendants have some theory about what can be exculpatory," he said.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/06/03/college-admissions-scandal-parents-say-payments-ringleader-werent-bribes/1329466001/

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