A TASTE OF JUSTICE: Actress Felicity Huffman Gets 14 Days In Jail In College Admissions Bribery Scandal
Actress Felicity Huffman on Friday was sentenced after she pleaded guilty in a college admissions fraud scandal — and she actually got jail time, 14 days in the clink.
The “Desperate Housewives” appeared in Boston’s federal court, where she reportedly made yet another tearful apology for her actions.“I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. I have inflicted more damage than I could ever imagine,” she said before sentencing.
While prosecutors had recommended the 56-year-old actress serve one month in prison, the judge cut that in half. Prosecutors also called for a $20,000 fine — the judge upped that to $30,000. The judge also gave Huffman 250 hours of community service and a year of supervised release.
Huffman must report to jail Oct. 25.
Through her lawyers, Huffman had asked the judge for no jail time and just a year of probation and community service. In a desperate attempt to void jail time, the actress had two dozen friends write letters of support, including her husband William H. Macy and Eva Longoria, who starred with her in “Desperate Housewives.”
Huffman was the first of the 34 parents charged in the widespread scheme to be sentenced. Before the end of the year, 15 other parents who have pleaded guilty will face sentencing. Meanwhile, 19 other parents, including actress Lori Laughlin, are contesting the charges.
On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts charged 50 people, including coaches, admissions counselors, parents, and Laughlin’s husband, fashion designer J. Massimo Giannulli in what they dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” They allegedly falsified SAT scores and lied about their children’s athletic skills, among other alleged crimes.
In pleading guilty, Huffman admitted to paying $15,000 to artificially raising her older daughter’s SAT scores in 2017 with the aid of an admissions consultant at the center of the scheme. Huffman’s daughter was unaware of the shady deal, prosecutors said.
But Huffman’s lawyers say she was only a “customer” in a massive scheme and argue that in past cases of academic fraud, only the ringleaders have gone to prison.
Huffman had blamed an attempt to be a “good mother” for her actions.
“In my desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” Huffman wrote in three-page letter to the judge in September. “I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family.”
But U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling contended that Huffman knew the scheme was wrong and participated anyway.
“Her efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity,” his office wrote in a filing last Friday. “Millions of parents send their kids to college every year. All of them care as much she does about their children’s fortunes. But they don’t buy fake SAT scores.”
Prosecutors also said lesser penalties, including simply community service, would mean nothing to someone with “a large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool,” and they said a fine would be “little more than a rounding error” for someone as rich as Huffman.