A father was acquitted Thursday of charges that he paid off a Georgetown University tennis coach to get his daughter into the school. It was the final trial linked to the explosive college admissions bribery scandal, the Associated Press reports. Amin Khoury’s case is the 57th stemming from the Operation Varsity Blues investigation — which rocked the world of higher education and collegiate sports — to conclude, and the only one to end in an acquittal in a jury trial. Khoury was not found guilty on all counts stemming from accusations that he bribed then-Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst with cash in a brown paper bag in exchange for his daughter’s recruitment to the team. Khoury’s attorneys argued the daughter was properly admitted to the school, which they said routinely treated favorably children of parents with deep pockets. They painted the government’s star witness as a liar who made up the story to save himself from potential tax crimes.
An attorney for Khoury said the government’s case was seriously damaged by the testimony of Khoury’s daughter, who told jurors she didn’t know anything about the payment to Ernst and wasn’t involved in any fraud. “They accused her of being part of it. And it was totally false,” attorney Roy Black said after the jury announced its verdict. Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said prosecutors are disappointed and believe “that the conduct and facts in this case warranted Mr. Khoury’s prosecution.” Unlike dozens of wealthy parents convicted in the college cheating scandal involving elite universities, Khoury wasn’t accused of working with admissions consultant Rick Singer, who used a sham charity to funnel bribes to coaches and others. Khoury was charged more than a year after Ernst and 49 others — including actors and prominent businesspeople — were arrested in the scheme involving bogus athletic credentials and rigged entrance exam scores.