It’s been a while since I last wrote about Varsity Blues, the college admissions scandal. Two defendants, both parents who bribed school officials to get their children admitted to colleges of choice, went to trial rather than plead guilty. Both were convicted last October. Yesterday the first of them, Gamal Abdelaziz, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison along with two years supervised release after prison, a $250,000 fine and 400 hours of community service. The other defendant, John Wilson, will be sentenced next week. He was convicted of tax charges in addition to the college conspiracy charges, so he may get an even longer sentence.
These two men are the first two to choose trial rather than taking a plea deal. It cost them at time of sentencing. The longest sentence given out prior to this was for nine months. That defendant, Douglas Hodge, paid more money and was more directly and actively involved in the bribes on behalf of four children than most other parents. There have been several other defendants convicted in recent months, too. To see the whole list, here’s the authoritative link: Varsity Blues.
The most outrageous case is the one defendant who was pardoned by Donald Trump right before he left office. Robert Zangrillo, a Miami developer, was let off scot-free. The White House claimed that various businessmen and even a USC trustee (a major Trump supporter), advocated for the pardon for Zangrillo, but those businessmen all denied having any input on the pardon or contact with Zangrillo or the White House. The White House statement on the pardon also claimed that Zangrillo’s daughter Amber was earning a 3.9 GPA at USC, but the school confirmed that she was not enrolled there. The lies from that man never end.