- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2019

Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced Friday to 14 days in prison as she became the first parent to be sentenced in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.

The former “Desperate Housewives” star was sentenced in a Boston federal court after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy and fraud in May for paying $15,000 for her daughter’s SAT score to be boosted by William “Rick” Singer, the scheme’s mastermind.

She is scheduled to start her two-week prison sentence Oct. 25. She also will have to pay a $30,000 fine, probated for one year and do 250 hours of community service.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Indira Talwani said Huffman knew what she did was wrong and that “she knew it was a fraud, it was not an impulsive act.”

In a written statement, Huffman emotionally apologized in court to her daughters and husband, saying she was “stupid” and knew what she was doing was wrong.

“I was frightened, I was stupid and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done… I take full responsibility for my actions… I am prepared to accept whatever sentence you deem fit,” she said.

Huffman’s lawyers argued she was merely a “customer” in the scheme and that should shield her from jail time, recommending a year of probation, a $20,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

According to WPRI, federal prosecutors said Huffmanmust go to jail for one month” adding that being a parent “does not make you a felon. It does not make you cheat. It does not make you cut corners.” They also recommended the $20,000 fine.

“In prison, there is no paparazzi. In prison, everyone is treated the same. Everyone wears the same clothes and is subject to the same rules… Prison is necessary here,” they said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen responded to a letter Huffman sent to the judge saying she chose to break the law because she was worried about her daughter’s future.

“With all due respect to the defendant, welcome to parenthood,” he said.

Huffman said in a letter to the court that she has “a deep and abiding shame” surrounding her decision and only wanted to help her daughter, whose sub-optimal math scores jeopardized her chance of going to an acting college. Her daughter reportedly didn’t know about the scheme.

Ms. Huffman is the first of 34 parents charged in the scandal to be sentenced. Some of them paid upwards of $500,000 to help propel their children into elite universities.

Huffman’s sentence could be worrisome for those trying to fight their charges, as she pleaded guilty early, provided full cooperation in court, and was at the lower end of the amount spent.

Two of those parents, “Fuller House” star Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of shelling out half a million dollars for their two daughters to be admitted to University of Southern California as members of the crew team, although neither participated in the sport they were recruited for.

Ms. Loughlin and Mr. Giannulli have declined their right to separate attorneys and are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 2.

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