Former Harvard fencing coach and Maryland businessman are each acquitted of bribery costs | CNN

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A former Harvard fencing coach and a Maryland businessman had been each acquitted of conspiring to get the businessman’s two sons admitted to Harvard in trade for greater than $1.5 million in bribes, authorities introduced Wednesday.

Former fencing coach Peter Model, 67, and businessman Jack Zhao, 61, had been acquitted of conspiracy to commit federal applications bribery and federal applications bribery – greater than two years after they had been indicted, in response to the US Legal professional’s Workplace in Massachusetts.

Model’s legal professional stated the decision exonerates his consumer.

“We’re very grateful to the jury for his or her service and cautious consideration of the proof,” Legal professional Douglas Brooks stated. “In the present day’s verdict exonerates Peter Model who’s 100% harmless.”

Legal professional Invoice Weinreb, who represents Zhao, instructed CNN, “We’re grateful to the jury for his or her service and for doing justice on this case.”

Model was Harvard’s males’s and ladies’s fencing coach from 1999 till 2019, when Harvard College fired him, months after he was accused of promoting his house to Zhao, whose son was actively seeking to apply to the varsity.

The sale of the Needham, Massachusetts, house in 2016 significantly drew investigators consideration as a result of Zhao purchased it for nearly twice what a tax doc stated it was price.

The acquisition of the house was amongst $1.5 million in funds scrutinized by prosecutors within the case, together with a big cost to Model’s charitable basis and faculty tuition funds for Model’s son.

Zhao has two sons who’re fencers and had been admitted to Harvard. He denied the bribery allegations and his legal professional has referred to as his youngsters educational and fencing stars who acquired into Harvard on their very own benefit.

After the 2 males had been acquitted, a spokesperson for the US Legal professional’s Workplace within the District of Massachusetts instructed CNN in an announcement that they essentially disagreed with however revered the decision.

“This case was prosecuted for the tens of millions of highschool seniors and their households who interact within the demanding and humbling train of making use of to school yearly. That course of is meant to be a meritocracy,” the US Legal professional’s Workplace assertion learn. “The moment case uncovered such profound ranges of privilege, entitlement and wealth abusing the faculty admissions course of that one thing needed to be completed. And I’m proud that we did.”

The case towards Model and Zhao got here amid a sprawling faculty admissions rip-off, first revealed in March 2019, by which wealthy dad and mom of school candidates used their wealth to cheat on standardized exams, bribe sports activities coaches and lie in regards to the funds.

“Our trial crew labored tirelessly and tried a wonderful case. Their efforts weren’t in useless,” US Legal professional’s Workplace stated. “This case and the entire faculty admissions prosecutions have led to important reforms at faculties and universities throughout the nation aimed toward curbing the power of these with means and entry to flagrantly ignore the foundations that apply to everybody else.”

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