Judge Rules on Cutting Key Testimony Prior to “Varsity Blues” Jury Instructions

Water Polo Team

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ruled that part of former University of Southern California (USC) soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin’s testimony will be cut from former water polo coach Jovan Vavic’s trial, Law360 reported.

Partners Stephen G. Larson and Kori Bell are defending Mr. Vavic at trial against allegations that he accepted bribes from the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scheme mastermind and ringleader William “Rick” Singer for securing admission spots for applicants from wealthy families. During the trial, Mr. Khosroshahin “testified that [Mr.] Vavic attempted to ease his hesitation about joining the scheme in a 2009 conversation” Law360 summarized.

In favor of Mr. Vavic’s defense, Judge Talwani “said the trial evidence fell short in establishing that [Mr.] Vavic was a part of the conspiracy prior to 2013, meaning jurors cannot consider the testimony for the truth of the matter asserted,” Law360 reported. “While [Mr.] Khosroshahin testified he was confident those were the exact words [Mr.] Vavic used, the court found that his supposed ‘sharp memory was inconsistent with his generally poor recollection.'”

Law360 added that Judge Talwani “adopted a defense put forward by [Stephen and Kori] arguing [Mr.] Khosroshahin’s reference in the 2009 conversation to ‘the situation that Rick has presented’ could refer to any number of things.

In addition, Judge Talwani “discounted a statement that [Mr.] Singer made on a recorded phone call . . . where [Mr.] Singer said he started his scheme of admitting fake athletes in exchange for bribes” with Mr. Vavic. Mr. Singer’s words, Judge Talwani said, “don’t carry much value.”

“By all accounts, [Mr.] Singer routinely bragged about relationships with high-profile and successful individuals to further his own reputation and to cause others to join his scheme, with little regard for the veracity of his statements,” Law360 reported that Judge Talwani said during her ruling as the attorneys “parsed out” the jury instructions.

Judge Talwani will give the jurors their instructions for deliberation on April 7.

Read the full article by Brian Dowling of Law360 covering Judge Talwani’s ruling here (subscription required).


Subscribe to our mailing list

Sign up to get news, client alerts, and other updates from Larson delivered to your inbox.
Get the latest updates via RSS RSS Feed What is RSS?
We use cookies on this site to enhance your experience. By using our website, you accept our use of cookies.