A businessman has been acquitted in the Georgetown entrance trial
A wealthy businessman accused of bribing his daughter as a tennis player at Georgetown University was acquitted Thursday by a federal jury in Boston on all counts related to the government’s Varsity Blues investigation into corrupt college admissions. The first was not guilty.
The businessman, Amin Khouri, was accused of giving $180,000 in cash to Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst so that his daughter could be recruited into the team and admitted to the university, even though she was not a Georgetown-caliber player. . According to prosecutors, the cash went through a middleman, which was delivered in a paper bag.
Following the verdict, Roy Black, one of Mr. Khoury’s lawyers, said the verdict showed that the jury agreed with the defense’s argument that college admission is not a pure qualification, and that Georgetown allowed applicants from such families. Farmed those who could afford to make generous donations. in the University.
“I tried to emphasize to the jury that the federal government had no part in engaging in these private businesses,” Mr. Black said in an interview. “These schools are private businesses that spend 24 hours a day fundraising, and there’s no tax dollars involved, no government officials involved, no government policy. So No. 1, the federal government doesn’t get involved. should be.”
Mr Black said the defense had a document – which he referred to in his opening statement but was not able to produce at trial – that showed Georgetown discovered the financial background of those parents. who could become a donor along with Mr. Khuri.
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“There was a team of people in Georgetown who researched what fathers did, what their income was, how much their homes cost,” Mr. Black said. “They thought they could get somewhere between one and five million from him, how cynical that is.”
He continued: “We proved beyond any doubt that funding is a big factor in getting admitted to these elite universities – I’m not talking about government-funded universities, I’m talking about the Ivy League and Georgetown’s. I’m talking about.”
Mr. Khure is involved in financial investments. His father, Amin J. Khouri was the founder of B/E Aerospace, a manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior products.
US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachel S. Rollins said in a statement that the government was disappointed with the decision, but was pleased that the dozens of successful Varsity Blues prosecutions had resulted in “massive and systematic changes to the college admissions process,” and had shown how wealth and privilege can distort a system. which can be considered on the basis of merit.
Although prosecutors framed the Khoury case in a way that was similar to other cases, it was different in that it did not involve college admissions counselor William Singer, who helped dozens of parents enroll their children in elite schools. convicted for. Through bribery, fake SAT scores and fake credentials.
Mr Black said he believed having Mr Khoury’s daughter Katherine on the stand “to tell the story that she was a tennis player, wanted to play tennis,” also helped. He has since graduated from Georgetown and has a master’s degree in business from Fordham, he said.
Mr Ernst, a former tennis coach, pleaded guilty last for soliciting and accepting bribes to help students get into university.
Khoury’s decision was extraordinary in that it came after a string of guilty pleas by other parents caught in the college admissions scandal, and after two other parents who took their chances at trial, John Wilson, Abdelaziz, a former Gap and Staples executive, and former Jamal Casino executive were indicted. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Abdelaziz, who made similar arguments, are appealing.
Susan C. Beachy contributed to the research.