© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Jovan Vavic, a former water polo coach on the College of Southern California, arrives on the federal courthouse for the trial for his function within the “Varsity Blues” faculty admissions scandal, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., March 10, 2022.
By Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) -A federal choose on Thursday put aside the conviction of a former College of Southern California water polo coach charged with collaborating in an enormous U.S. faculty admissions fraud and bribery scheme and ordered a brand new trial.
U.S. District Choose Indira Talwani in Boston stated the prosecution throughout closing arguments misstated what it wanted to show for jurors to search out Jovan Vavic responsible of accepting bribes to assist rich mother and father’ youngsters acquire admission to USC.
Stephen Larson, Vavic’s lawyer, in an announcement stated Talwani’s choice “protects Coach Vavic from a wrongful conviction.” U.S. Legal professional Rachael Rollins (NYSE:), whose workplace tried the case, stated prosecutors have been reviewing their choices.
“The jury convicted Mr. Vavic on each single rely, and we consider they bought it proper,” Rollins stated.
Vavic was convicted in April within the second trial to end result from the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation, which uncovered how some rich mother and father went to excessive lengths safe spots for his or her youngsters at colleges like Yale, Georgetown and USC.
They did so with the assistance of William “Rick” Singer, a California faculty admissions marketing consultant who admitted in 2019 to facilitating faculty entrance examination dishonest and bribing coaches to safe his shoppers’ youngsters’s admission as phony athletes.
Fifty-three individuals have pleaded responsible, together with actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Two mother and father have been convicted in a single trial, whereas one other was acquitted in June.
Prosecutors claimed Vavic in alternate for greater than $200,000 helped mislead USC admissions officers into believing youngsters of Singer’s shoppers belonged on his championship crew.
Whereas prosecutors stated some cash that Singer paid went towards Vavic’s youngsters’s non-public college tuition, one other $100,000 went to not the coach however to a USC account used to fund the water polo crew.
Talwani stated jurors have been instructed that any fee needed to hurt USC’s pursuits, but prosecutors wrongly prompt it was sufficient to show a misrepresentation and acquire to Vavic, who didn’t misuse the donations.
“And, nonetheless distasteful, there’s nothing inherently unlawful a few non-public establishment accepting cash in alternate for a pupil’s admission,” Talwani stated.