Former Coach Denies “Varsity Blues” Quid Pro Quo

Water Polo Team

The former water polo coach for the University of Southern California (USC) and Larson LLP’s client, Jovan Vavic, filed a motion before U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani requesting that the new charges brought against him by the prosecutors in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions case be cleared, Law360 reported. 

In their latest indictment, the prosecutors alleged a “corrupt quid pro quo” based on Mr. Vavic’s “alleged January 2019 agreement to get students admitted [to USC] in a phone call with scheme mastermind William ‘Rick’ Singer,” the article reported, but Mr. Vavic cited flaws in the allegations.

“If the agreement to exchange a thing of value for an act is made after the thing of value has been provided, that cannot properly be viewed as an agreement to accept a bribe,” Mr. Vavic stated in court papers. He added that he “could not have agreed with Singer on the call to accept the past tuition payments for admitting fake recruits to USC.”

The indictment’s allegations, Mr. Vavic claimed, “fail as a matter of law to comprise the ‘exchange’ of an official act for a private payment prerequisite to the purported bribery scheme at the heart of their case.”

Partners Stephen G. Larson, Kori L. Bell, and Paul A. Rigali are representing Mr. Vavic with attorneys from BLA Schwartz PC. They said that “other payments made to a USC account that purportedly funded [Mr.] Vavic’s water polo teams are also, in the court’s words, a ‘difficult question’ as to whether they form the basis for a quid pro quo…The $250,000 allegedly paid by Singer and others to the USC account for [Mr.] Vavic’s team fails to form the basis for a bribe because it doesn’t amount to any private gain for [Mr.] Vavic.”

In regards to the prosecutors’ latest indictment, Stephen stated that it “reflects, again, the government’s over-reach, flawed legal theories, and unsupported factual allegations against Coach Vavic. Despite their trilogy of reworked ‘superseding’ indictments, the government’s case, unlike fine wine, has not improved with age.”

Read the full article by Brian Dowling of Law360 covering Mr. Vavic’s motion here


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