Parents Issue First Formal Challenge to U.S. College Case
Gregory and Amy Colburn, two of 19 parents indicted in the national college cheating scandal, became the first to issue a formal challenge to the government, arguing that prosecutors had failed to make allegations that would support a criminal case.
The Colburns advanced four arguments, including a claim that the government doesn’t show how they engaged in a single conspiracy with the 17 others. The Palo Alto, California, couple on Monday moved for a dismissal, saying the courts have warned prosecutors of an “inherent danger” in multi-defendant conspiracy cases — that individuals who aren’t actual members of a large single group “will be swept into the conspiratorial net.”
“The allegations against the Colburns in the indictment (even assuming they are true for purposes of this motion) are textbook examples” of the prosecution “‘casting the net’ too broadly,” their lawyer David Schumacher said in the 21-page filing.
“The government’s strategy of lumping together all of the parents into a single conspiracy has had the intended effect of creating widespread public outrage against all the parents regardless of their actual conduct,” he said. He argued that “the allegations regarding each of the parents cannot establish interdependence” and that “there are no allegations that the parents knew of the schemes in which they were not participants, which were often separated by years and occurred across the country.”
Christina Sterling, a spokeswoman for Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts whose office is prosecuting the case, declined to comment on the Colburns’ filing.
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