Prosecutors Caught Cheating in Lori Loughlin's Case
By: Donald V. Watkins
© Copyrighted and Published on March 6, 2020
Federal prosecutors in actress Lori Loughlin's college cheating case in Boston have, themselves, been caught in the act of cheating. Unbelievably, these prosecutors withheld 309 pages of notes made by their star witness, William "Rick" Singer, after he began cooperating with the FBI and the prosecutors on the case. They have now turned this exculpatory evidence over to Loughlin's defense counsel. This startling new development was announced in court last week.
Under the law, federal prosecutors had a mandatory duty under the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brady case to disclose to the defense team any and all evidence that is exculpatory or favorable to the defendants in the case -- Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli. When prosecutors deliberately withheld Singer's 309 pages of notes from the defense until last week, their failure to timely produce this body of exculpatory evidence to defense counsel constituted prosecutorial misconduct.
Among the Singer documents prosecutors failed to turn over to the Loughlin-Giannulli defense team was a note in which Singer details his "loud and abrasive call" with FBI agents. According to Singer, "they continue to ask me to tell a fib" about where Lori Loughlin's money was going. "It was a donation," Singer wrote, "and they want it to be a payment." Singer's note confirms what Loughlin and Giannulli have said all along -- the money paid to Singer was intended as a donation to the University of Southern California.
A donation is legally permissible, while a bribe is not. The University has a longstanding tradition of admitting the children and relatives of big donors. Nearly all prestigious colleges and universities give an admissions preference to the relatives of donors.
As is often the case, the FBI demanded that Singer lie about Loughlin's donation to USC in order to fit their false "bribery" narrative of the case. This kind of law enforcement misconduct is called "twisting" the evidence. This practice is illegal in every state whenever private parties "twist" the facts into a knowingly false and misleading narrative.
FBI agents are notorious for "twisting" evidence and for pressuring witnesses to change their testimony to conform to the prosecution's theory of the case. This is why they do not tape-record witness statements. They are the only law enforcement agency in America that does not tape-record interviews with witnesses and suspects. This is because FBI agents want the flexibility to massage and change witness statements over time.
In Loughlin's case, the prosecution team got caught cheating in an effort to win their case against the defendants. It is now up to U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton to decide what he will do about the prosecutorial misconduct in Loughlin's case. If he follows the applicable case law, Judge Gorton will reprimand the prosecutors, or sanction them with fines or jail time, and/or he may even dismiss the indictment against Loughlin and Giannulli.
One thing is for sure -- if prosecutors hid this exculpatory evidence from the defendants, they most likely hid it from the grand jury, as well. This form of cheating would also be a violation of their affirmative duty under the U.S. Attorney's Manual, which governs their conduct.
If Judge Gorton, who was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, is a run-of-the-mill judicial "fluffer" for prosecutors, as most federal judges are, he will make up some lame excuse for taking no adverse action against the prosecution team. If Gorton is a fair-minded judge who enforces the law on an even-handed basis, he will punish prosecutors for their misconduct in this case.
Singer's notes also discuss the FBI's focus on Attorney Gordon Caplan, the co-chairman of a prestigious law firm in Los Angeles. Singer said the FBI wanted to "nail Gordon at all cost." The agency singled out Gordon for personal destruction. This action constitutes impermissible "targeting," which occurs frequently with rogue FBI agents and prosecutors.
This is why President Donald Trump has labeled FBI agents as "scum" and federal prosecutors as "corrupt." They almost always cheat to win. They feel entitled to cheat because very few federal judges will hold federal prosecutors and FBI agents accountable for breaking the rules.
Private attorneys who get caught cheating to win trials are disbarred. Prosecutors who get caught cheating are routinely forgiven by trial judges, which is why these prosecutors continuously cheat to win.
Loughlin and Giannulli will go on trial in October in Boston federal court, unless Judge Gorton tosses out the case. The couple has been charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, and bribery. Both defendants maintain their innocence. If convicted, they face up to 50 years in prison.
On January 8, 2020, I published an article titled, "Lori Loughlin's Case Cries Out for Jury Nullification." The prosecutorial misconduct in this case is despicable. It shows exactly why trial jurors in Loughlin's case must put the breaks on this kind of government lawlessness. Jurors can stop this kind of prosecutorial abuse by exercising the power they hold under the doctrine of jury nullification.