Felicity Huffman sentenced: 2 weeks in prison, $30,000 fine for college admissions scandal
A federal judge Friday sentenced actress Felicity Huffman to 14 days in prison in the nation's college admissions scandal, giving prosecutors a crucial win as they seek prison sentences for other parents charged in the historic case.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also sentenced Huffman to a $30,000 fine, supervised release for one year and 250 hours of community service for paying $15,000 to have someone correct answers on the SAT exam of her oldest daughter, Sophia.
It marked the case's first sentencing of a parent – one who happens to be famous.
"I don’t think anyone wants to go to prison," Talwani said. "I do think this is the right thing here. I think without this sentence you would be looking at a future with a community around you asking how you got away with this."
Huffman in May pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
She was confronted in Boston federal court Friday by a prosecutor who argued for a one-month prison term, telling the judge Huffman showed "disdain and contempt for the rule of law" by cheating. But her legal team argued that she should not be treated "more harshly" because of her wealth and fame.
Talwani seemed torn, saying she made her decision based on a number of factors, including Huffman's "moral character." She also said the idea the case “undermined confidence in a level-playing field" in college admissions is flawed, noting that the current admissions process does not ensure there's not a "backdoor" into college.
But she said Huffman "knew what she did was wrong."
“Trying to be a good mother doesn’t excuse us," Talwani said.
Huffman, 56, was directed to report to prison on Oct. 25. "Ms. Huffman, I wish you success moving forward," the judge told her.