Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The trial of more than a dozen prominent parents accused to have played a role in the sweeping national college admissions scandal will take place in October, a judge announced Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton split 15 parents who pleaded not guilty into two groups with the first, featuring Actress Lori Loughlin and her, husband Mossimo Giannulli, Miami investor Robert Zangrillo, Massachusetts financier John Wilson, USC dentistry professor Homayoun Zadeh casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz and Bay Area couple Diane Blake and Todd Blake set to begin on Oct. 5.
The second trial is set to begin on Jan. 11 and includes former private equity chief William McGlashan, Canadian investor David Sidoo, shipping company owner I-Hsin Chen, media executive Elizabeth Kimmel, liquor company executive Marci Palatella and oncologist Gregory Colburn and his wife, Amy.
Jury selection will begin on Sept. 28 for the case that charges Loughlin and Giannuli with paying more than $500,000 in bribes to secure their daughters' admissions to college as part of the so-called Varsity Blues scandal involving 50 prominent parents, athletic coaches and others accused of orchestrating bribes to ensure admissions into prestigious universities.
Both Loughlin and Giannuli face multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and have each pleaded not guilty on all counts.
They each face 50 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines if found guilty.
On Wednesday, Loughlin's lawyers pointed to iPhone notes written by the scheme's mastermind, Rick Singer, in which he said his FBI handlers encouraged him to lie about whether he told the parents the payments were bribes to bolster the case against them.
"They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where [their] money was going -- to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment," he wrote.
Loughlin's lawyers said the notes indicate that the actress is innocent and requested the start of the trial be delayed.
Gorton gave defense attorneys until March 13 to file motions to dismiss the indictment, suppress evidence or seek sanctions for government misconduct in response to the notes.