Former Coach Says Government Misconduct Spoils “Varsity Blues” Case

Water Polo Team

Larson filed a motion to dismiss the charges against former University of Southern California (USC) water polo coach Jovan Vavic on March 1, Law360 reported.

The motion points to “new allegations that prosecutors looked the other way while the scheme’s ringleader hid millions of dollars overseas” and says that a recent letter to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani “describes the latest in a long line of failures by prosecutors to live up to their ethical obligations,” Law360 details in an article on March 2 about the latest development in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions case.

Michael Kendall, an attorney at White & Case LLP representing a parent charged with earning his son admission to USC through bribery with Mr. Vavic, wrote to Judge Talwani that “prosecutors may have let [scheme ringleader William “Rick”] Singer move millions of dollars in foreign accounts in order to get him to cooperate in the high-profile investigation,” which Law360 notes spurred Mr. Vavic’s motion to “call into doubt the validity of [Mr.] Singer’s cooperation with the government.”

The motion to dismiss stated that Mr. Vavic “has learned of new evidence which adds to a record of government misconduct that includes the repeated failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, deceiving defendants and the courts regarding the existence of such evidence, allowing star cooperator Rick Singer to destroy evidence, and now, the failure to investigate [Mr.] Singer’s apparent criminal conduct, despite being on notice of the same and naming him as a government witness in the forthcoming trial.”

Mr. Vavic argued that the letter “points to concrete evidence that the government has long been on actual notice that [Mr.] Singer was involved in a variety of additional criminal activities—including money laundering with his brother, convicted felon Cliff Singer; hiding millions of dollars in missing funds; and the consequent provision of required financial disclosure forms that were likely inaccurate.”

Because prosecutors did not investigate the accounts, Law360 noted that Mr. Kendall wrote in his letter that it suggests that “there may have been a quid pro quo by which [Mr.] Singer told the story the government wanted [to be] told in exchange for being allowed to move his money. An FBI witness testified during the case’s first trial that several million dollars of [Mr.] Singer’s money was unaccounted for.”

Mr. Vavic asserted that “the government continued to utilize [Mr.] Singer to perpetuate the headline-grabbing allegations; to extract guilty pleas from multiple defendants; and to obtain two convictions at trial—including pursuant to representations in court proceedings that were either incomplete or inaccurate,” Law360 reported.

If the case is not dismissed, Larson partners Stephen G. Larson and Kori Bell will represent Mr. Vavic at trial in Boston starting on March 8, with jury selection beginning on March 7. Mr. Vavic is the only remaining defendant who has not been convicted in the “Varsity Blues” case.

Read the full article by Chris Villani of Law360 covering Mr. Vavic’s motion to dismiss here (subscription required).


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