Bribe or donation? Parent's defense questions the difference

In this March 27, 2019, photo, Robert Zangrillo departs federal court in Boston after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Lawyers for Zangrillo plan to argue that he isn’t much different from parents who make formal donations to schools in the hopes of giving their children an edge in admissions. (Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via AP)
In this March 27, 2019, photo, Robert Zangrillo departs federal court in Boston after a hearing in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Lawyers for Zangrillo plan to argue that he isn’t much different from parents who make formal donations to schools in the hopes of giving their children an edge in admissions. (Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via AP)

BOSTON — A parent accused in a sweeping college admissions bribery scheme plans to argue that he isn't much different from parents who try to give their children an edge in admissions by making donations.

Lawyers for Robert Zangrillo gave a glimpse into their defense plans in a recently unsealed court filing requesting admissions records from the University of Southern California, where Zangrillo's daughter was admitted last year.

A judge granted the subpoena, which requests the number of prospective students who get special consideration at USC and the amount of any donations from their families.

A lawyer for Zangrillo says the records could show his client's conduct is "consistent with legitimate practices that have been engaged in by universities for decades."

USC says it opposes the subpoena, citing concerns about student privacy concerns.

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