Felicity Huffman has been sentenced to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty for her role in the nationwide college admissions cheating scandal that broke in March 2019. She will also be forced to pay a fine of £25,000 and complete 250 hours of community service. After her release from prison, Huffman will be under supervised release for one year.
She must report to prison on October 25th to begin her sentence.
Huffman, 56, was in tears as she addressed Massachusetts Federal Judge Indira Talwani and recalled the day she drove her daughter to the testing centre where her scores would later be fabricated. "I remember thinking 'Turn around, just turn around,'" she said, according to multiple outlets. "To my eternal shame, I didn't."
She apologised to the "students, parents, colleges and universities who've been impacted by my actions," as well as to her daughters, Sophia and Georgia, and her husband, actor William H. Macy.
"I take full responsibility for my actions," she said, adding, "I will deserve whatever punishment you give me."
Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen, in recommending a one-month jail sentence, lambasted Huffman during his remarks in the Boston courthouse on Friday afternoon: "Most parents have the moral compass and integrity not to step over the line," he said. "The defendant did not."
Prosecutors also drew a parallel to the Ohio mother who was jailed for ten days for lying about her housing address so that her children could go to a better school district. A lighter sentence for Huffman, they said, would reek of status and wealth privilege.
The Desperate Housewives actress, wearing a black dress, looked solemn during the proceedings. Approximately 13 friends and family members were in attendance to show support, according to CNN, and husband Macy sat in the first row.
Huffman pleaded guilty to the felony charges in May, thereby acknowledging she conspired in a scheme to pay £12,000 to a fake charity organisation that used the money to falsify her daughter's SAT score.
Ahead of her sentencing, Huffman wrote a letter to US District Judge Indira Talwani not to "in any way justify my wrongdoing, my guilty or to avoid conscious acceptance of the consequences," rather to "shed light on how I finally got to the day I said 'Yes' to this scheme."
"In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot," she wrote. "I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family."