Why William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman's Husband, Was Not Charged in College Cheating Scandal. In the indictment alleging that actress Felicity Huffman participated in a sprawling college admissions scandal with the intent to benefit her college-bound daughter, one name is prominently absent: her husband, actor William H. Macy. The Shameless star, 69, is instead identified only as "her spouse" in the document alleging that Huffman engaged in a scheme to donate $15,000 to a company in exchange for its help to fraudulently boost their daughter's SAT scores, according to the indictment obtained by PEOPLE. Huffman and another actress, Lori Loughlin, along with Loughlin's husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among 50 people named on Tuesday in an alleged conspiracy to defraud and undermine competitive student admissions at elite colleges and universities including Yale, Georgetown, the University of Southern California and Stanford, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts. Late Tuesday, Huffman, 56, was photographed leaving a downtown Los Angeles, courthouse following her arrest and after posting a $250,000 bond on charges that she engaged in conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, reports the Associated Press. Specifically, authorities and the charging document allege that Huffman and Macy aligned with William Singer, a "cooperating witness" in the investigation who runs a college preparatory business and started the Key Worldwide Foundation that accepted the couple's $15,000 donation. Singer, who has pleaded guilty to his role in the scandal, met with the couple in their Los Angeles home and allegedly told them a proctor could boost their daughter's SAT results by secretly correcting any incorrect test answers. According to the indictment, Singer "advised investigators that Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan." After donating the $15,000, the couple received a written response from the foundation assuring the money would "provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth." The indictment states that, at Singer's direction, Huffman told her daughter to seek extra time given to students with learning disabilities or other needs to complete the timed test. (It was not stated whether the daughter has any such needs.) Singer then told Huffman her daughter should take the test in December 2017 observed by a proctor -- identified as a "cooperating witness 2" -- who was alert to the scheme. When it looked like a different proctor from her daughter's school would observe that testing, Huffman sent Singer an email. "Ruh ro!," she wrote, according to the indictment. A subsequent charge to a different testing site for the daughter allowed the plan to unfold as agreed upon. Compared to the results of the daughter's earlier Preliminary SAT exam completed without any suggestion of cheating, the indictment states, "Ultimately, Huffman's daughter received a score of 1420 on the SAT, an improvement of approximately 400 points over her PSAT, taken without CW-2 one year earlier." The document does not state whether the daughter knew of the plan or had been admitted to any particular college or university on the basis of those elevated results. Huffman and Macy allegedly discussed with Singer a similar scenario to involve their younger daughter, according to conversations excerpted in the indictment, but backed off and decided she should take the test first to see how well she did. Emails and recorded conversations cited in the indictment show that Macy participated only in conversations about the second daughter, and not in the plan that was carried out, perhaps explaining the lack of evidence required for a criminal charge.
Jackson kids consider filing lawsuit against Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Following the airing of HBO's explosive documentary "Leaving Neverland," Michael Jackson's kids Prince, Paris and Prince Michael Jackson II, aka "Blanket" -- are considering filing a lawsuit against alleged sexual abuse victims Wade Robson and James Safechuck. The potential suit, according to a source close to the family, would be for fraud, emotional distress, slander and misrepresentation. Both Robson and Safechuck appeared in the documentary alleging they were sexually abused by the late pop legend, who died in 2009. News of the siblings' plans comes weeks after the Jackson family slammed the documentary, declaring it wasn't "telling the truth." We're told Prince, Paris and Blanket are not seeking money, but that any money awarded would be given to charity. Instead of cash, the kids want Robson and Safechuck to accept "responsibility" and to give an "apology." The family source added, "It's very important to them they carry forward" their father's "legacy of philanthropy and humility." In late February, the Jackson estate sued HBO for breach of contract and believes it could be awarded at least $100 million in damages. After the premiere of the documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, Robson and Safechuck said finding each other was an important part of their decision to share their stories. Both men claim they were not paid for their participation in the documentary. (PageSix)
Lori Loughlin Released on $1 Million Bond in College Admission Scandal. Hours after surrendering to the FBI, Lori Loughlin has been released on $1 million bond. The Fuller House star surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning over her alleged involvement in a major college entrance exam scheme. Loughlin will be allowed to retain her passport for travel on a current project in British Columbia, her next court appearance will be in Boston Federal court on March 29. This news comes just over 24 hours after E! News obtained court documents that show that both Loughlin and Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The actresses are among over 40 individuals who have been charged in connection with the alleged scheme. According to the FBI affidavit, the scheme involved getting students admitted into elite colleges. "Beginning in or about 2011, and continuing through the present, the defendants principally individuals whose high-school aged children were applying to college conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children's admission to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of California Los Angeles, among others," the affidavit states. The same day that the news broke, E! News confirmed that 13 defendants were taken into custody in the Los Angeles area, including defendant Huffman. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts told E! News that Loughlin had not yet been arrested on Tuesday morning as she was out of the country. She was contact by federal authorities to come back and turn herself in. Loughlin's husband Mossimo Giannulli was arrested Tuesday morning without incident. It's noted in the FBI affidavit, "The Guannullis agreed to a pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team -- despite the fact that they did not participate in crew -- thereby facilitating their admission to USC." Loughlin and Giannulli have two daughters, Isabella Rose, 20, and YouTube star Olivia Jade, 19. (Eonline)
Teresa Giudice's husband, Joe Giudice, won't have one second of freedom to enjoy when he's released from prison this week ... 'cause ICE will be right there to pick him up. An ICE spokesperson tells TMZ ... their office is fully expecting Allenwood Low Federal Correctional Institution in PA to hand over Joe Thursday when he's released. It's unclear exactly where ICE will take him, but Joe could be in one of the agency's detention centers for a while. He's appealing his deportation, and with the case still pending ... who knows when he'll actually get his day in court. Until then, he'll remain in ICE's custody. Teresa has said she'll divorce Joe if he ends up getting deported back to Italy -- so a lot on the line here. (TMZ)
Robert Kraft and all the other suspects arrested in South Florida's prostitution sting are not facing a single charge of human or sex trafficking -- despite the fact cops made that their headline ... TMZ Sports has learned. We've confirmed with prosecutors in Palm Beach County -- home to the now-infamous Orchids of Asia Spa -- that Kraft is still only facing 2 solicitation charges. We're told that's also true for the other 25 "johns" arrested in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. Four other people have been arrested for operating or managing the spas, but even they haven't been charged with trafficking. Sources familiar with the case tell us prosecutors have seen ZERO evidence of human trafficking to this point -- after a 5-month investigation. Further, we're told 2 federal agencies -- ICE and the FBI -- knew about the sting early on and opted not to get involved because they saw no signs the case involved trafficking. The police sting also targeted massage parlors in Indian River and Orange Counties with at least 45 additional arrests -- however, no trafficking charges have been reported there either. We've reached out to their State Attorney's Offices but haven't heard back yet. Multiple law enforcement agencies held widely covered news conferences nearly 3 weeks ago where they boasted of breaking up a trafficking ring. As Jupiter, FL's Police Chief Daniel Kerr put it, "Concern centers around the possibility of victims of human trafficking." Of course, raising the specter of trafficking got the sting a lot more attention -- but it also painted Kraft and all the other suspects with a much more nefarious brush. Human trafficking is a felony punishable by serious prison time. Solicitation, on the other hand, is a misdemeanor. Prosecutors and cops in Palm Beach County tell us further charges are still possible because their investigation is ongoing. A Jupiter PD official told us, "These things take time." That can't sit well with the dozens of people who were publicly connected to such a serious crime before law enforcement had the goods to charge them. (TMZ)
R. Kelly allegedly coerced his alleged "sex slave," Joycelyn Savage, to lie to cops if asked about their relationship, and her family believes they have evidence to prove it ... which is now in the hands of the feds. Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation tell TMZ ... federal investigators in New York involved in the R. Kelly sex trafficking probe flew to Atlanta last week to meet with the Savage family ... and received a treasure trove of digital evidence. We're told the Savages had lots of digital records that they say display shady tactics from both R. Kelly and folks who were working for him, including a woman named Cheryl Mack ... an ex-assistant who allegedly facilitated a meeting between Joycelyn and R. Kelly early on. According to our sources, the records show Mack had arranged for Joycelyn to fly to Palm Springs to see R. Kelly in 2015. We're told that meeting led to Joycelyn dropping everything and moving in with him, without her parents' knowledge. For the record, Joycelyn was 19 at the time this happened. She has been living with him since then. There's a lot more the Savages had. Per our sources, they also handed over old emails and texts between them and Mack, as well as audio recordings of R. Kelly allegedly coercing her into lying about her situation if authorities ever talked to her. We're told in some of the other audio recordings obtained, you hear R. Kelly discussing how he'd conceal his relationship with Joycelyn ... and in another, we're told you hear R. Kelly demand Joyceln text him a statement that she herself was lying in the event she ever ratted him out. Our sources say the Savages also handed over social media messages they say came from R. Kelly's camp through the years to show he had others working for him to procure young women. The Savages' attorney, Gerald Griggs, declined to comment. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York also had no comment for this story. R. Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, tells TMZ ... "We are not going to continue to address anonymous rumors. From now on we are only going to deal with facts." (TMZ)
Infamous mob boss Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali has died. On Wednesday, a little after 9 p.m., Cali -- who went by Frank rather than Francesco -- was shot multiple times in the torso outside of his Staten Island home, New York Police Department confirms to PEOPLE. Shortly after, emergency responders arrived on the scene and Cali, who was born in New York City, was transported to Staten Island University North Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 53. At this time, police have made no arrests and Cali's death is under investigation. Witnesses told New York Daily News "there were like six shots, and then there were three more." "The man was on the ground face-up. His head was by his SUV, and the truck was open," the witness told the outlet. Cali, who was known throughout his life as "Franky Boy," is the nephew-in-law of Sicilian mobster John Gambino and had close ties to the Sicilian Mafia family led by Salvatore Inzerillo. Cali was married to Rosaria Inzerillo. In 2012, Cali was identified as the new underboss of the Gambino crime family. In 2015, Cali was named boss, replacing 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu, who was forced to step down due to old age, New York Daily News and USA Today reported. The appointment allowed Cali to join the ranks of former leaders like John Gotti and Carlo Gambino. Gotti died while in prison in 2002 of throat cancer and Gambino died in 1976. During his reign, Cali was the backbone of the heroin and Oxycontin trade, according to The New York Post. However, he kept a relatively low profile for the most part. Unlike other mobsters, Cali had few run-ins with the law. In 2008, Cali was arrested and charged with federal racketeering as part of Operation Old Bridge -- a code name for the Feb. 7 arrests in Italy and the U.S. that targeted the Gambino crime family. Some of the indictments included murder, drug trafficking, robbery and extortion, according to The Mob Museum. On June 4, 2008, Cali pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort money. On April 6, 2009 he was released from prison. Following his release, federal agents kept an eye on him and tried to prevent him from meeting and doing business with members of the Sicilian Mafia, according to New York Daily News. (People)