Steven Senne, Associated Press
Felicity Huffman, center, gets into a vehicle followed by her brother Moore Huffman Jr., outside federal court, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Boston, where she pleaded guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.

SALT LAKE CITY — Defense lawyers in the college admissions scandal argued on Monday that the payments parents made to the ringleader of the scandal weren’t bribes, USA Today reports.

  • Federal prosecutors said on Monday at a federal court hearing that there were more than 3 million pages of evidence in the case against the wealthy parents, including Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli.
  • Two dozen attorneys appeared in the courtroom on Monday to represent 19 defendants, including Loughlin, according to the Boston Herald.
  • But the defense lawyers requested access to more evidence that shows "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,” according to USA Today.
  • Federal Magistrate Judge Page Kelley denied the request for now, saying she wants to see what happens next in the case before making any more decisions.

Why it matters: “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,” according to USA Today.

New argument: According to The Huffington Post, attorneys revealed their defense strategy at the court hearing.

2 comments on this story
  • “If the money went to a school, it’s not a bribe,” said attorney Martin Weinberg, who represented businessman David Sidoo, one of the wealthy parents, according to NBC News. “Many of the clients would contend that if payments were made to a charity or sports organization, that it is not a bribe.”
  • Similarly, Aaron Katz, an attorney for parent Elizabeth Henriquez, argued that Singer told parents “their money was going to go to athletic programs or schools ― not to bribes,” according to Bloomberg.

Yes, but: Eric Rosen, the assistant U.S. Attorney, rejected the defense’s claims. He said that it doesn’t matter if the money went anywhere directly — it was still a bribe.

  • “It doesn’t matter if the money went to the coach’s program or the coach directly,” Rosen said during the hearing, according to The Washington Post. “A bribe is simply a quid pro quo.”