Lori Loughlin's attorney claims new evidence proves her innocence

Brendan Morrow

As a judge is expected to soon set a date for Lori Loughlin's trial, her attorney is claiming she's been exonerated by new evidence.

The Full House star last year was charged in the nationwide college admissions scandal, with prosecutors saying she and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 in bribes to pass their daughters off as rowers to get them into the University of Southern California. Unlike Felicity Huffman, both Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty.

An attorney for Loughlin and Giannulli, Sean Berkowitz, is arguing they thought the payments weren't bribes but legitimate donations to the school or the purported charity of Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, reports The Associated Press. In a new court filing, Berkowitz claims notes taken by Singer support this defense and prove Loughlin's and Giannulli's innocence, NBC News reports.

"Singer's notes indicate that FBI agents yelled at him and instructed him to lie by saying that he told his clients who participated in the alleged 'side door' scheme that their payments were bribes, rather than legitimate donations that went to the schools," Berkowitz claims. According to a court motion per NBC News, Singer wrote that agents "continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there [sic] money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment."

Prosecutors said the parents in the scam conspired to launder bribes "by funneling them through Singer's purported charity and his for-profit corporation." Singer, who agreed to cooperate with the investigation, pleaded guilty. A status hearing in the case will take place Thursday, and Loughlin's attorney is asking the judge to postpone setting a date for the trial, which prosecutors want to begin in the fall.

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