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Gamal Abdelaziz makes his way into court for opening statements in the first Varsity Blues case in Boston on Sept. 13. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Two parents were found guilty in U.S. district court on Friday for their participation in what federal prosecutors have called the biggest college admissions scam in U.S. history, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: John Wilson, a private equity firm founder, and Gamal Abdelaziz, a former casino executive, were the first to go on trial in the "Operation Varsity Blues" scandal — in which parents allegedly bribed coaches and paid for forged standardized tests to get their children into elite colleges.

Driving the news: Abdelaziz and Wilson, who were convicted on charges of conspiring to commit bribery and fraud, face up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges, per the Times.

  • However, Ilene Jaroslaw, chair of the white collar criminal defense practice at the Phillips Nizer law firm, said she did not expect the judge to keep sentence either defendant to more than five years, the Times notes.
  • Abdelaziz was accused of paying $300,000 in 2018 to have his daughter admitted to the University of Southern California as a top basketball recruit. Abdelaziz's daughter did not make the varsity team in high school.
  • Wilson was accused of paying $220,000 in 2014 to have his son admitted as a water polo recruit at USC.

The big picture: 57 people, including parents, coaches, standardized test administrators and others, have been charged in connection with the college admission scandal, Reuters reports.

  • The scandal has implicated athletic coaches from colleges including USC, Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest and Georgetown.
  • Of the 57 defendants who were indicted in March 2019, approximately 48 have pleaded guilty or have agreed to do so, per the Times.

What to watch: A small number of parents are set to go on trial in 2021.

Go deeper: Timeline of the major developments in the college admissions scandal

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Los Angeles City councilmember indicted on federal bribery charges

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images for CDF)

Los Angeles City councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas and a former dean at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work were indicted Wednesday on federal corruption charges over an alleged bribery scheme.

Why it matters: The longtime politician is accused of "supporting county contracts and lucrative contract amendments" in exchange for a relative receiving "substantial benefits" in his previous role as an L.A. County supervisor, per a Department of Justice statement.

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

3 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.