Georgetown Dad Found Not Guilty in Final Trial of ‘Varsity Blues’ Admission Scandal

Georgetown Dad Found Not Guilty in Final Trial of ‘Varsity Blues’ Admission Scandal

Georgetown Dad Found Not Guilty in Final Trial of ‘Varsity Blues’ Admission Scandal

A father was acquitted Thursday of charges that he paid a Georgetown University tennis coach to send his daughter to school in the latest lawsuit linked to the explosive device. university admission bribery scandal

Amin Khoury’s case is the 57th from the investigation into Operation Varsity Blues—which rocked the world of higher education and collegiate sport—to reach a conclusion, and the only one to end in an acquittal during the process.

Khoury was not found guilty in all respects by jurors over charges that he bribed then-Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst with cash in a brown paper bag in exchange for his daughter’s recruiting to the team.

George Town University
Prospective students visit the Georgetown University campus on July 10, 2013 in Washington.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Khoury’s lawyers claimed the daughter was properly admitted to the school, which they say routinely treated the children of parents with deep pockets favorably in admissions. They portrayed the government’s key witness as a liar who made up the story to save himself from potential tax crimes.

A lawyer for Khoury said the government’s case was seriously damaged by the testimony of Khoury’s daughter, who told the jury that she knew nothing about the payment to Ernst and was not involved in any fraud.

“They accused her of being part of it. And it was totally untrue,” attorney Roy Black said after the jury announced its verdict.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said prosecutors are disappointed and believe “the conduct and facts in this case justified the prosecution of Mr. Khoury.”

unlike dozens of wealthy parents convicted in the school fraud scandal involving elite universities across the country, Khoury was not accused of working with admissions consultant Rick Singer, who used his bogus charity to funnel bribes to coaches and others.

Instead, authorities said, Khoury used an intermediary he was friends with at Brown University to bribe Ernst. Khoury, the middleman, and Ernst all played tennis at Brown, and the deal came about while the three of them were at a reunion at the Providence, Rhode Island, school, prosecutors said.

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The defense argued that the money was a gift to Ernst, who was struggling financially at the time because the construction of a new sports center meant he was no longer able to use the school’s tennis courts to host private summer camps and increase his income. to fill.

Khoury was charged more than a year after Ernst and 49 others – including actors and prominent businessmen – were arrested in the elaborate scheme involving false athletic credentials and falsified entrance exam scores.

Among those hearing closing arguments in Boston federal court on Tuesday was his father, Amin J. Khoury, who founded Wellington, Florida-based B/E Aerospace, a manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior furnishings that was purchased in 2017 for more than $6 billion.

Ernst did not testify at Khoury’s trial because he said he would assert his rights against self-incrimination if he was summoned. He pleaded guilty to taking more than $3 million in bribes to help students get into the school and will be sentenced next month.

Assistant US Attorney Kristen Kearney told jurors that Khoury’s daughter did not have the academic record to enter Georgetown and was bottom of her high school tennis team, which was herself bottom of the rankings.

“She didn’t have a chance to get in on merit,” Kearney said.

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More than 50 defendants of Operation Varsity Blues pleaded guilty, including “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin, her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, and ‘Desperate Housewives’ star Felicity Huffman. Three others — two parents and a former University of Southern California water polo coach — were convicted at trial.

Another parent was pardoned by former President Donald Trump, and a coach was offered a deal in which prosecutors agree to drop his case if he pays a fine and adheres to the terms of the agreement.

The longest sentence to date – 15 months in prison – was given to: John Wilsona former executive of Staples Inc., found guilty of paying bribes to get son to USC as a water polo recruit and his twin daughters to Harvard and Stanford.

Wilson and another father – Gamal Abdelaziz, a former casino director – are appealing their convictions, and a judge recently ruled that the two can stay out of jail while they challenge the convictions.

Singer is expected to be sentenced in September.