Prosecutors call for Felicity Huffman to spend a month in jail

The federal prosecutors recommended that after spending a month in jail the actress should also have a year of supervised release.
Image: Felicty Huffman
Felicity Huffman, from center, departs federal court with her brother Moore Huffman Jr., from left, in Boston on May 13, 2019.Steven Senne / AP file

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By Tom Winter and Daniel Arkin

Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Huffman should serve a month in jail and pay a $20,000 fine for her role in the college admissions scandal, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Friday.

Huffman tearfully pleaded guilty earlier this year to committing mail fraud and honest services fraud in connection with a $15,000 payment to have an SAT examination proctor correct one of her daughter's answers on the test.

The actress, who co-starred on the ABC drama "Desperate Housewives" and earned an Oscar nomination for "Transamerica," also inquired about the same scheme for another daughter, although she never carried out that plan.

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In the filing, the prosecutors wrote to the judge in the case that Huffman's conduct was "deliberate and manifestly criminal."

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They recommended that, after spending a month in jail, she should also have a year of supervised release.

"In the context of this case, neither probation nor home confinement (in a large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool) would constitute meaningful punishment or deter others from committing similar crimes," the prosecutors wrote.

They added that Huffman's "efforts weren't driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity."

"Millions of parents send their kids to college every year. But they don't buy fake SAT scores and joke about it ("Ruh Ro!") along the way," they added, referring to an email Huffman wrote in 2017.

The FBI's 10-month investigation into the college cheating scheme, code-named Operation Varsity Blues, also ensnared "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin. She has pleaded not guilty. The probe resulted in some 50 people being charged, including the scam's alleged mastermind, William Rick Singer.

The first person sentenced in the scheme, Stanford University's former sailing coach, received just one day behind bars.

In response to the prosecutors' filing, Huffman's attorneys requested the judge sentence her to a one-year term of probation and 250 hours of community service. She would also pay the $20,000 fine called for in her guilty plea, they said.

The 161-page sentencing memorandum includes 27 letters of support, including a letter from the actress herself, as well as her husband, Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy, and her "Desperate" co-star Eva Longoria.

Click here to read Eva Longoria's full letter

"Ms. Huffman is deeply remorseful for her crime. She recognizes that she deserves to be punished for what she did," her attorneys wrote.

Huffman, for her part, wrote that in her "desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot."

"I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair," she added. "I have a deep and abiding shame over what I have done."