Federal prosecutors have recommended a one-month jail sentence for Felicity Huffman for the charge against her in the nationwide college admissions cheating case.
United States Attorney Andrew Lelling made the recommendation in a sentencing memo filed in federal court on Friday. The actress will be formally sentenced on Sept. 13 in a Boston court. Prosecutors added that following Huffman’s one-month incarceration, she should have an additional year of probation and a $20,000 fine.
In May, Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. At that time, federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of four months. Huffman and her spouse — “Shameless” star William H. Macy, who was not charged — made a charitable donation of $15,000 to participate in a college entrance exam cheating scheme led by Rick Singer, on behalf of her oldest daughter. Huffman had initially planned to do the same thing for her youngest daughter, before backing out.
Letters that Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, wrote to the judge who will sentence her next week offer the most detailed explanation to date about how the couple got involved in the scandal and how they are grappling with Huffman’s extraordinary fall from grace.
Both award-winning actors said they were trying to be good parents. Huffman expressed deep regrets for her actions, adding she had disgraced herself and betrayed her daughter.
Huffman, along with actress Lori Loughlin, was arrested in March as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating case. In total, the people arrested were charged with paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into top universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC in what authorities described as the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”
In her letter, Huffman said she had panicked, having come to believe her daughter’s low math scores on the SAT would hamstring her dreams of becoming an actress.
“In my desperation to be a good mother,” she wrote, “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.”
Prosecutors on Friday filed a blistering memo of their own, saying crimes committed by Felicity Huffman and her co-defendants should not be interpreted as runaway parental zeal.
They cited that reasoning again Friday in arguing why Huffman and 10 other parents should be imprisoned for conspiring with Singer.
“Incarceration is the only leveler,” they said. “In prison everyone is treated the same, dressed the same, and intermingled regardless of affluence, position or fame.”
Prosecutors have asked that Huffman receive a one-month prison sentence when she appears before U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani on Sept 13 as the first parent to be sentenced in the scandal.
Felicity Huffman’s attorneys say probation, a $20,000 fine and 250 hours of community service would suffice.