New trial ordered for water polo coach convicted in ‘University Blues’ scandal
US Attorney Rachel S. of Massachusetts Rollins said: “We are deeply disappointed by this decision, which we do not believe is based on facts or the law. The jury found Mr. Wawick guilty on every single case, and we believe they got it right. At the moment we are reviewing all our options.”
Since the indictments were announced in 2019, the government has insisted that the universities involved were not implicated in the scam. However, the scandal has shed an uncanny light on athletic recruiting, highlighting how it can be combined with fundraising.
In the 60-page judgement, the judge said the jury had given a fair verdict. But she found that the government may have created enough confusion in the jury’s mind to launch a new trial.
During the trial, Mr Vawick’s lawyers stated that he never misappropriated any money or committed any fraud. He said about $100,000 in cash was deposited into a USC account for water polo teams. Another $120,000 went to pay private school tuition for his sons – he said the money came in the form of a scholarship from Mr. Singer’s foundation.
Prosecutors said the foundation was a conduit for bribery.
A new trial order set sail for another defendant, John Wilson, a former Staples & Gap executive and founder of a real estate and private equity firm. Mr Wilson is appealing his sentence on charges of paying more than $1.2 million to ensure that his three children are admitted to the University of Southern California, Harvard University and Stanford University as Division I athletic recruits. Will – even if prosecutors said he would not have qualified on the basis of his athletic credentials.
Mr. Wawick helped recruit Mr. Wilson’s son to the water polo team.
“Judge Talwani’s ruling correctly refutes the prosecution’s claim that John Wilson’s donation was a bribe,” Mr Wilson’s lawyer Noel Francisco said in a statement on Thursday. “Indeed, prosecutors cannot identify a single instance in all US legal history where the victim and the beneficiary of the ‘bribe’ were the same.”