From the NY Times:
Since the mastermind of the college admissions scandal, William Singer, pleaded guilty last March to racketeering and other charges, he has been mostly offstage, paddleboarding and enjoying the California sun while many of his former clients head off to prison.I previously wrote about how prosecutors were trying to bully Aunt Becky into pleading guilty. Turns out they were doing much worse!
But this week, Mr. Singer, who admitted to organizing a scheme to cheat on tests and bribe college coaches to get students into elite schools, was again the center of attention. Lawyers for the actress Lori Loughlin and other parents said that notes Mr. Singer had taken while cooperating with federal investigators showed that they pushed him to lie to incriminate his clients.
They said that Mr. Singer’s own words suggested that parents did not knowingly engage in a conspiracy to bribe coaches, as prosecutors have argued, and they accused prosecutors of sitting on the evidence for months in violation of their legal obligations.
“Loud and abrasive call with agents,” Mr. Singer wrote on Oct. 2, 2018, in a note with several typos and misspellings. “They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there money was going - to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment.”
He added that the agents were essentially “asking me to bend the truth.”
In a hearing on Thursday, a federal judge called the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct “very serious” but did not rule on the issue, directing the parties to submit further motions.
Ms. Loughlin’s lawyers had written in a court filing on Wednesday that the evidence in Mr. Singer’s notes was “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.”
So what will happen now? The judge took various motions under advisement. But the sad truth is that the likelihood that anything will happen to the prosecutors or agents who engaged in this misconduct -- or to the case itself -- is very low. The right result would be to issue severe sanctions, including dismissal. That's the only way that we are going to stop prosecutorial misconduct, which is a real problem for the criminal justice system.
The judiciary exists to act as a check on the executive branch. But unfortunately we don't see much of that at all when it comes to misconduct. Instead, we hear: don't do that again; it wasn't intentional; there was no prejudice; it was harmless; and so on. So prosecutors and agents keep doing it.
At sentencings every day in every courtroom around the country, we hear about deterrence and why severe sentences are needed. Let's be consistent with prosecutorial wrongdoing.