Ex-USC water polo coach gets new admissions scam trial

by | Sep 15, 2022 | Sports

BOSTON — A federal judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for a former decorated University of Southern California water polo coach convicted in the sprawling college admissions bribery scandal.U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani found that some evidence introduced by the government in Jovan Vavic’s fraud and bribery case to be unreliable and that prosecutors erred in their argument to jurors about some of the alleged bribe money.Vavic, who guided USC’s men’s and women’s water polo teams to 16 national championships, was convicted in April after being arrested in March 2019 in the headline-grabbing “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation. Prosecutors accused Vavic of taking more than $200,000 in bribes to fake athletic credentials and designate college applicants as water polo athletes to get them into USC.Prosecutors said he also helped recruit others to the scheme pointing to wiretap transcripts in which Vavic called the arrangement a “win-win” situation and where he encouraged a fellow coach with doubts about the scheme to “just do it.”Prosecutors said the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme — Rick Singer — made payments to Vavic’s water polo program and toward his children’s private school tuition.Vavic’s lawyers argued at trial that he was just doing what he could to raise money for his dominant program as athletic officials at the elite Los Angeles school had demanded. They argued he was always acting in the best intere …

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