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The Silicon Valley investor charged in the college bribery scandal has a unique response to the indictment

McGlashan’s argument, boiled down, is essentially: I didn’t do anything illegal ... yet.

Silicon Valley investor Bill McGlashan.
Silicon Valley investor Bill McGlashan.
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

The prominent Silicon Valley investor charged in the college bribery scandal, Bill McGlashan, has a unique response to the indictment that has already stripped him of his high-powered private-equity job.

McGlashan on Wednesday unveiled his first response in US District Court to the charges that shook the world of high finance a few weeks ago — parrying back allegations that he had planned to funnel a total of $250,000 to an admissions consultant who would use the money in part to bribe a college athletics official in order to secure his son’s spot at the University of Southern California.

A key part of his reply: I didn’t actually do anything illegal — even if he was caught on tape saying that he planned to pay the USC official.

“The Complaint does not allege that Mr. McGlashan paid any money to use a so-called ‘side door’ to obtain admission for his son at USC or any other college for that matter,” McGlashan’s lawyers wrote Wednesday in advance of an arraignment hearing on Friday. “That is for good reason: Mr. McGlashan never paid any such money.”

McGlashan’s argument, boiled down, is essentially: I didn’t do anything illegal ... yet.

On that point, McGlashan’s lawyers are correct. While he was caught on a wire last summer telling the admission consultant, William Rick Singer, “I love it,” when presented with the plan to photoshop his son onto the body of a potential kicking or punting football recruit — a plainly absurd plan given USC’s prowess, but nevertheless par for the course for Singer — prosecutors don’t present any evidence that McGlashan actually followed through with the $200,000 payment.

McGlashan’s reply is merely a preliminary response to the charges as part of an attempt to obtain his passport in advance of a family vacation next month. But it’s notable that he doesn’t actually address the central question in the charges filed by prosecutors: Why did he say what he said on tape?

Similarly, because McGlashan’s son never actually matriculated to USC — he is still in high school and has withdrawn his college applications, McGlashan’s lawyers say — the bribe could not have actually “succeeded,” so to speak, because it has yet to result in a quid pro quo.

A novel argument, for sure. I didn’t rob the bank, I merely intended to rob the bank, and didn’t leave with any money.

The remaining $50,000 went toward his son receiving services for additional accommodation for testing. McGlashan claims his son has been receiving extra time for his exams ever since being diagnosed with learning disabilities in 2015.

“There is no allegation in this case that the additional ACT test time obtained for Mr. McGlashan’s son was obtained fraudulently or was unwarranted,” lawyers say.

But there are other allegations that his lawyers chose not to field here: He doesn’t say why exactly he had his son take the exam in a testing facility far from his home, or comment on the allegation that his son had his test scores doctored. McGlashan once again ... punts.

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