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Felicity Huffman Says She Participated In College Admissions Bribery Scheme Out Of ‘Desperation’

In a letter to the judge, Felicity Huffman wrote about the “utter shame” she feels about her actions, which she says were committed out of fear of being a “bad mother.”

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Felicity Huffman seen here attending EMILY's List pre-Oscars event on February 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California

As actress Felicity Huffman waits to be sentenced for her participation in a wide-ranging college admissions bribery scandal, the 56-year-old actress and mother of two has reportedly written a letter to the judge, claiming that she acted out of “desperation” and only wanted the best for her eldest daughter.

Huffman pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, CNN reports. Prosecutors have asked that she be sentenced to one month in jail and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine, calling her actions “deliberate,” Page Six reports. Huffman, however, has asked for a year of probation, and penned a lengthy letter to the Boston judge set to sentence her on September 13.

After Huffman first stated that there is “no justification” for her actions and that she will “respectfully accept” whatever sentence she receives, she then delved into her motivations, PEOPLE reports.  

Huffman “worked with Mr. Singer legitimately for a year,” she wrote, and employed him to work with her daughters, 19-year-old Sophia and 17-year-old Georgia, because they both have learning disabilities. Singer eventually told Huffman that her daughter Sophia, who wanted to major in theater, had math testing scores that were too low for her to be admitted to any of the colleges she was interested in; he then suggested that he could have a test proctor “bump up her scores,” Huffman claimed, according to the outlet.

Huffman wrote that she was, at first, “shocked,” but then came to feel that she’d be a “bad mother” if she didn’t take his suggestions.

Prosecutors have accused Huffman of paying $15,000 to Singer, who came up with the plot, in order to have her daughter’s test scores altered. She reportedly also considered going through the process a second time for her remaining daughter, Georgia, but did not go through with it.

Huffman explained that decision in her letter, according to PEOPLE, writing, “To my utter shame, I finally agreed to cheating on Sophia’s SAT scores, and also considered doing the same thing for Georgia. But the decision haunted me terribly; I knew it was not right. I finally came to my senses and told Mr. Singer to stop the process for Georgia.”

Huffman went on to explain that she felt insecure about her ability to be a mother “from the moment [her] children were born,” according to the outlet.

“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.”

In addition to writing a letter in her own defense, Huffman also gathered letters of support from 27 others, including her Emmy Award-winning husband William H. Macy and her “Desperate Housewives” co-star Eva Longoria, Page Six reports.

In his letter, Macy also alluded to his wife’s insecurity in her parenting abilities, writing, “Motherhood has, from the very beginning, frightened Felicity and she has not carried being a mom easily. She’s struggled to find a balance between what the experts say, and her common sense.”

He also touched on the effect that the scandal has had on his family, writing that Huffman’s actions caused her relationship with her daughters to “explode,” according to the outlet. They are currently “rebuilding,” however, and are all seeing a “wonderful family therapist.”

Longoria praised Huffman in her letter, writing that her former co-star defended her when she was subjected to bullying on the set of the hit drama, and has done volunteer work benefitting the Latino community, according to Page Six.

Huffman was one of more than 30 wealthy parents charged for allegedly partaking in the scheme. Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of paying $500,000 to Singer in order for their two daughters to gain admittance to the University of Southern California as members of the crew team, even though neither plays the sport. Both have pleaded not guilty.