Prosecutors plan to seek a sentence of four to 10 months’ jail time for actress Felicity Huffman for her role in the college admissions scandal, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said.
Huffman was among 13 parents who agreed to plead guilty last week to a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud. A total of 33 parents, including the “Desperate Housewives” star, have been accused of using their wealth to cheat on standardized tests for their children and bribe college administrators and coaches who had clout when it came to admissions.
Prosecutors’ decision to seek four to 10 months had nothing to do with Huffman’s public apology, the source said.
A plea agreement indicated that prosecutors were going to recommend incarceration at the “low end” of the sentencing range, a $20,000 fine and 12 months of supervised release. Prosecutors had recommended a range of sentences for Huffman and those pleading guilty, from 12 to 18 months.
In addition to lower sentencing, prosecutors will not bring further charges, the plea agreement said.
Ultimately, a federal judge will have the final say on Huffman’s sentence.
Huffman is due back in court on May 21 for a sentencing hearing.
What is she accused of?
Huffman has agreed to plead guilty to paying $15,000 to a fake charity associated with Rick Singer to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs. Singer ran a college prep business, and helped wealthy parents cheat on standardized tests for their children. He also bribed college coaches to designate children falsely as recruited athletes, smoothing their path to admission, a criminal complaint says.
Huffman and Singer exchanged emails about how to get extra time on her daughter’s SAT, the complaint says. They arranged for Huffman’s daughter to take the SAT at a location controlled by an administrator bribed by Singer, the complaint says. The daughter got a score of 1420 out of a maximum 1600 on the SAT, about 400 points over her Preliminary SAT exam a year earlier.
She apologized to her daughter
Last week, the actress issued an apology and took responsibility for her actions, saying her daughter was not aware of the payment. She said she had betrayed her daughter and wouldn’t make any excuses for breaking the law.
“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done … and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” she said in a statement.
“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, 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.”
The scandal has affected Huffman’s career. The release of a Netflix comedy film starring Huffman, set to hit the streaming platform next week, has been postponed.
“Otherhood,” about three mothers who move from the suburbs to New York so they can reconnect with their children, was set to premiere on Netflix on April 26. The news of film’s pushback came a day after the “American Crime” actress entered her plea.