Rich dad acquitted in latest college admissions bribery scandal trial


A wealthy father has been acquitted of bribing a Georgetown University tennis coach with hundreds of thousands of dollars to get his daughter into the elite school in the final trial of the national college admissions scandal.

Amin Khoury’s case was the 57th in connection with the Operation Varsity Blues investigation, in which 54 defendants pleaded guilty or were convicted in court, including actresses Lori Loughlin, who served two months in prison, and Felicity Huffman, who eleven days in prison.

Khoury’s case was the only one to end in acquittal.

He was found not guilty by the jury of conspiracy and mail fraud for bribing former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst with a brown paper bag full of cash to secure his daughter a roster spot on the team.

Khoury’s lawyer argued that his client’s daughter was admitted to Georgetown on her own merit and said the school routinely favored children of wealthy parents.

Former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst raised over $3 million to help affluent students enter Georgetown.

One of the lawyers said the government’s case fell apart after Khoury’s daughter took the stand and testified that she had no idea about the payments to Ernst.

“They accused her of being part of it. And it was completely wrong,” attorney Roy Black told the Associated Press after the jury announced its verdict.

Khoury has not been accused of working with admissions administrator Rick Singer, who admitted to using his sham charity to channel bribes to coaches and others at prestigious schools such as the University of Southern California, Yale and Stanford. Singer is expected to be sentenced in September.

Rather, alleged prosecutor Khoury used a middleman to pay $180,000 to Ernst – who pleaded guilty in October to accepting over $3 million to smuggle Singer’s clients into Georgetown as false recruits. Ernst is due to be sentenced next month.

george town
Georgetown was one of the many schools involved in Operation Varsity Blues.

Prosecutors said Khoury gave a bag containing the cash to Timothy Donovan at his Cape Cod home in 2015 to give to Ernst. The three all played tennis together at Brown University, and prosecutors said the deal went through while the three were at an Ivy League school reunion.

Khoury’s defense team argued the money was a gift to Ernst, who was struggling financially at the time from being unable to host his private tennis camps in Georgetown while the school built a new sports center.

“What did the Georgetown family do for him? They did nothing,” Black told the jury during his closing arguments. “You left him. The only family that helped him was the Khoury family and they want to make a crime out of it.”

John Wilson
Former Staples manager John Wilson received the highest sentence at 15 months.

The defense claimed Donovan “made up” this story to avoid being charged with tax crimes.

Assistant US Attorney Kristen Kearney told jurors that Khoury’s daughter did not have the academic credentials to get into Georgetown and was ranked at the bottom of her high school tennis team, which was at the bottom of her league.

“She didn’t get a chance to get in on merit,” she argued.

In all, over 50 parents have pleaded guilty to Operation Varsity Blues and three more have been convicted in court. Another parent was pardoned by former President Donald Trump and another coach had his case dismissed after agreeing to pay a fine.

John Wilson, a former Staples Inc. executive, received the longest sentence of 15 months after being found guilty of paying bribes to get his son to USC and his twin daughters to Harvard and Stanford as water polo recruits bring.

With mail wires

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