Actress and left-wing activist Felicity Huffman was sentenced to a 14-day prison sentence Friday, after the “Desperate Housewives” star was found guilty on federal charges for bribing a college admissions fixer to boost her daughter’s SAT scores.
Huffman pleaded guilty in May to paying college admission consultant William “Rick” Singer $15,000 to rig the test scores and transferring the money from her bank account to Singer’s illegitimate “Key World Wide” charity.
The actress also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, a crime which carries a 20-year sentence.
Huffman’s legal team request she be sentenced to a one-year probation term and 250 hours of community service.
“She is remorseful — indeed, deeply ashamed — about what she did,” Huffman’s lawyers stated in court documents.
Standing before Boston’s U.S. District Judge Talwani, the Emmy-award winning actress began crying when asking for leniency before her sentencing.
“I’m sorry to you judge. I am deeply sorry to the students, parents and colleges impacted by my actions. I am sorry to my daughters and my husband. I have betrayed them all,” Huffman said. “My mind keeps returning to the 30-minute drive to the testing center. I kept thinking, turn around.”
Prosecutors initially wanted a minimum 4-month sentence, but on Friday recommended Huffman spend a month behind bars and pay a $20,000 fine.
Arguing in court on behalf of the government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen warned Huffman deserved to go to prison.
“She told you crime resulted from the bewilderment of being a mom,” he told Judge Talwani. “With all due respect, welcome to parenthood. It’s terrifying and stressful. What parenthood does not do, it does not make you a felon. It doesn’t make you a cheat.
“This was a purposeful criminal act. The defendant knew it was wrong,” Rosen continued. “She even noted an increase could trigger an investigation. She mulled it over. She participated in the scheme. She lied to move the test. She called the College Board to make sure the test had been shipped. Happy with the results, she paid Singer $15,000 and considered doing it again. She sent the scores to colleges nationwide. But for her arrest, she would have succeeded.”
Fifty other defendants, including more than 30 other wealthy parents, have also been charged in the largest nationwide college scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. Huffman is the first to be sentenced.
In March, Singer pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice, according to prosecutors who allege he collected $25 million in bribes to get wealthy children into elite universities during the years-long scam.
Actress Lori Loughlin, famous for her role as Aunt Becky on the sitcom “Full House,” and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were also indicted in the scandal. Prosecutors allege the couple paid Singer $500,000 to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into the University of Southern California as recruits for the university’s crew team, despite never participating in the sport.
U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani agreed Huffman should face jail time and mandated she serve one year of probation and complete 250 hours of community service in addition to the 14-day prison sentence.
“I think this is the right sentence here,” Judge Talwani told Huffman. “You can move forward and rebuild your life after this. Without this sentence, I think the community around you would ask why you got away with this.”
Huffman, a critic of President Donald Trump, has protested the president at the Women’s March, calling the results of the 2016 presidential election a “feminist issue.”
On the heels of revelations of Huffman’s indictment in the college admissions cheating scandal, her husband, actor William Macy, blasted President Trump’s “lies.”
“Never lie. It’s the cheapest way to go. Lies cost you a lot, and they’re never worth what they cost,” Macy said of Trump in an interview with Men’s Journal. Dishonesty. Self-delusion. Lack of character. President Trump is sort of my touchstone for the qualities I do not like.
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