AceShowbiz - Lori Loughlin's lawyer has claimed to have new evidence which will exonerate the actress and her husband Mossimo Giannulli over their alleged involvement in a federal bribery case.
The couple is fighting fraud, money laundering, and bribery charges following its arrest last March (2019), when Loughlin and fashion designer Giannulli were accused of donating $500,000 (£375,200) to a fake charity set up by the scheme's mastermind, Rick Singer.
Loughlin and Giannulli, who face a maximum of 45 years behind bars if convicted on all charges, have pleaded not guilty to the accusations, with the "Fuller House" star always insisting she thought the money she'd paid to Singer was a donation, not a bribe.
And in Boston federal court on Wednesday, February 26, her lawyer Sean M. Berkowitz released notes from Singer's iPhone which he said back up that claim.
The notes saw Singer, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud, complain to his lawyer that he'd had an argument with FBI agents on the phone over what he'd said to the parents involved in the scandal. He alleged in the notes that the FBI had told him to lie by saying the payments were always known to be bribes, rather than donations.
"Loud and abrasive call with agents," Singer wrote. "They 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."
Following the discovery of the new evidence, Berkowitz has asked a judge to delay the hearing, due to take place on Thursday, which would have set a trial date for the parents involved in the scandal.
"This belated discovery... is devastating to the government's case and demonstrates that the government has been improperly withholding core exculpatory information, employing a ‘win at all costs' effort rather than following their obligation to do justice," he wrote.
He added that not only is the new evidence "exculpatory, but exonerating for the defendants the government has charged with bribery".
While federal prosecutors are believed to have wanted the trial to start in October, with Loughlin and Giannulli among the first tried, lawyers for the parents said that the complexity of the case means it shouldn't be tried until next February, 2021.
A judge has yet to rule on Berkowitz's request for a delay in the setting of the trial date.