Felicity Huffman has learned her fate in the case that gripped headlines earlier this year. As one of the most famous names attached to the College Admissions Scandal, which was dubbed Varsity Blues by the press, Huffman pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay $15,000 to an exam proctor to boost her teenage daughter’s SAT score. In a courtroom in Boston on Friday, Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison, 250 hours of community service, one year supervised release and a $30,000 fine.
Huffman arrived at the courthouse on Friday joined by her husband, fellow actor William H. Macy. CNN reports that Huffman was supported by 13 loved ones in the courtroom, including friends and siblings. Speaking to Judge Indira Talwani, Huffman apologized to her husband and her daughters. Reading from a prepared statement, Huffman described the impact her actions have had on her relationship with her daughter, who found out about the cheating when the scandal broke. Huffman remembered her daughter Sophia saying, “I don’t know who you are anymore, Mom. Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?” The actor said she takes full responsibility for her actions tearfully adding, “I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. At the end of the day I had a choice to make. I could have said ‘no.'” Huffman’s lawyer Martin Murphy reiterated that Huffman “knew what she did was wrong” and when she was approached a second time to doctor test scores, she refused.
Huffman has received backing throughout the ordeal, most notably from her Desperate Housewives co-star Eva Longoria who wrote a letter to the judge in charge of Huffman’s sentencing where she spoke to Huffman’s character, including how Huffman had protected Longoria from a bully during their time working together.
Previous to Huffman’s sentencing, prosecutors had recommended one to four months of jail time, 12 months of supervised release and a $20,000 fine. During sentencing on Friday, CNN reports that Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen said that Huffman should serve one month in jail, saying “there is no excuse for what she did.” Rosen added, “Most parents have the moral compass and integrity not to step over the line. The defendant did not.”
— Alysha Palumbo NBC10 Boston (@AlyshaNBCBoston) September 13, 2019
Earlier this year, Huffman expressed her “deep regret and shame” over the scandal in a statement made to the press. Apologizing to students who “work hard every day to get into college,” Huffman also said that she betrayed her daughter, who did not know about her mother’s behind-the-scenes dealings with regards to her SAT score.
In a statement, Felicity Huffman says she’s pleading guilty.
“I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.” pic.twitter.com/T6tx1VUiCE
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 8, 2019
Although 30 parents in total were charged in the scheme in addition to test proctors and college coaches, William H. Macy has never been charged in connection with Huffman’s case. Huffman is one of 15 parents to have plead guilty to her charges and is the first to be sentenced, likely setting a precedent for how the rest of those charged in connection with the scandal will be reprimanded.
In addition to Huffman, Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli have also been charged, although for a more severe crime. The couple, who have chosen to be represented together, are accused of paying $500,000 to Rick Singer, the Californian college consultant at the centre of the scandal. Singer reportedly used the money to gain admission to the University of Southern California for the couples’ two daughters, making it appear as though the teens had been admitted on a crew scholarship.
Unlike Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli have not plead guilty and are facing up to 40 years in jail on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and honest services mail and wire fraud.
Huffman left court with Macy and did not make a comment to the press. The actor must report to prison on October 25, although where she will be serving her sentence has not been announced.