First trial in college admissions scandal underway

First trial in college admissions scandal underway

The first trial in the so-called “Operation Varsity Blues” case is getting underway in Boston’s federal court more than two years after prosecutors arrested 50 parents, athletic coaches and others in the scheme that embroiled elite universities across the country. Thirty three other parents have pleaded guilty, including TV actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. The parents have so far received punishments ranging from probation to nine months in prison.

Defense attorneys said former casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz and former Staples and Gap Inc. executive John Wilson never discussed paying bribes. They were assured by the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme that what they were doing was a perfectly legal practice to give children of parents with deep pockets a leg up in admissions, the defense said. “It’s not illegal to give money to schools with the hope that it helps your kid get in,” Abdelaziz’s attorney, Brian Kelly, told jurors in his opening statement. “No one ever said bribery to him.” Abdelaziz, of Las Vegas, is accused of paying $300,000 to the sham charity run by the scheme’s mastermind — admissions consultant Rick Singer — to get his daughter into the University of Southern California as a basketball recruit even though she didn’t even make it onto her high school’s varsity team.

Wilson, who heads a Massachusetts private equity firm, is charged with paying $220,000 to have his son designated as a USC water polo recruit and an additional $1 million to buy his twin daughters’ ways into Harvard and Stanford. Prosecutors say the parents were well aware their payments were designed to get their kids into school as athletic recruits with fake or embellished credentials as part of Singer’s so-called, side-door scheme.

“That is what this case is about: lies,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Wright said. It’s “not about wealthy people donating money to universities with the hope that their children get preferential treatment in the admissions process.” Prosecutors will show jurors emails and phone calls between Singer and the parents that the admissions consultant recorded after he began cooperating with investigators in 2018. In one phone call, Singer told Abdelaziz that a USC official told him Abdelaziz’s daughter’s fake athletic profile was so well done that she wanted him to use that profile going forward for “anybody who isn’t a real basketball player that’s a female,” according to court documents.

“I love it,” Abdelaziz responded. Singer, who has pleaded guilty but hasn’t been sentenced yet, was long expected to be the government’s star witness. But prosecutors have said they won’t call the admissions consultant to the stand. Defense attorneys suggested they will seize on that decision to try to sow doubt in the government’s case. “The case revolves around Rick Singer, the whole investigation, it’s why we’re here. And now in opening statements, the government says ‘never mind, we’re not calling him.’ Think about that when you eventually deliberate,” Kelly told jurors.

The News Highlights

  • First trial in college admissions scandal underway
  • Check the latest update on business news
Disclaimer: If you need to edit or update this news from compsmag then kindly contact us Learn more

For Latest News Follow us on Google News


Latest Headlines
  • Show all
  • Trending News
  • Popular By week
What makes some people more susceptible to financial fraud?
What makes some people more susceptible to financial fraud?
Investigators found that the attitudes and beliefs shaping the ways study participants looked at the world—known as “mental frames”—may have influenced the ...
Wentz asks Rugby to help fight COVID |  News, Sports, Jobs
Wentz asks Rugby to help fight COVID | News, Sports, Jobs
“Pierce County rates are too low,” Wentz said. “Please try to promote vaccine uptake. This needs to be a community-wide effort.” Wentz said vaccines were ...
Crypto looks like the dot-com space of the 1990s, and bitcoin may not survive it, says chief investment officer |  Currency news |  Financial and business news
News Beat: New pizzeria chain reaching East Texas | Beat News
Starbucks deal inked “It’s a very community, family involved concept,” Ken West said. A South Longview Starbucks location could be open in about nine months. ...
Gucci Launches Vintage Vault site during Milan fashion week
Gucci Launches Vintage Vault site during Milan fashion week
Highlights from the fourth day of Milan runway shows Saturday for next spring and summer: GUCCI VAULT Many are doing it, in big ways and small. Gucci, ...
Black-owned companies in Detroit receive half of demolition funds
Black-owned companies in Detroit receive half of demolition funds
Detroit has demolished about 19,000 vacant and abandoned houses since 2014, but most of that work was paid with federal funds which placed restrictions on ...
The Ultimate Comeback in Cyber Security Deal by Vacayz
The Ultimate Comeback in Cyber Security Deal by Vacayz
The world is making a post-pandemic comeback; leisure travel has already bounded back exceptionally, and business travel is following closely on its heels. ...
COVID death toll in India exceeds 400,000 - half died in second wave |  Coronavirus Pandemic News
Medical freedom sought at Lima demonstration
Sean Ward, a physician/surgeon at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, says the question of whether the vaccine works is not the point here. “It’s all about ...
‘Money Heist’: Netflix takes a peek at the final episodes
‘Money Heist’: Netflix takes a peek at the final episodes
  Parts 3 and 4 were filmed simultaneously, and after they dropped in July 2019 and April 2020, the show continued to redefine what non-English-language ...
Ahead of Hardware Event, Microsoft’s New Surfaces are leaked
iPhone Folding Screen: Is Apple making a foldable phone?
The iPhone Flip may not be shipping any time soon, but this promising category is evolving. Just this month, Samsung took the wraps off the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ...
Google introduces a new search filter in Gmail for Android users
Google introduces a new search filter in Gmail for Android users
Agency News ANI| Sep 25, 2021 03:02 PM IST Tech News | Google Introducing New Search Filter in Gmail for Android Representative image Washington , September ...
Show next
Compsmag - Latest News from tech, business and health
Logo