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Amid news that Felicity Huffman may be facing up to four months in prison for her participation in a college admissions bribery scheme, some are wondering why the actress’ husband, actor William H. Macy, is not facing similar repercussions — or any at all, in fact.
The 56-year-old “Desperate Housewives” star pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors allege that she and Macy made a so-called charitable contribution to Rick Singer, a man whose college preparatory business was a front for a multi-level college admissions bribery scheme. In exchange for the couple’s payment, Singer is alleged to have arranged for their daughter’s SAT score to be altered.
Huffman may be facing a four-month prison sentence, a $20,000 fine, and 12 months of probation, outlets report.
Huffman was one of 50 wealthy parents, university coaches, and others who were charged for their part in the alleged scheme. Another celebrity couple — actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli — were both charged for alllegedly participating in the scheme by paying $500,000 for their two daughters to be admitted to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team, even though neither is an athlete. Both have entered not guilty pleas.
But while both Loughlin and Giannulli were both allegedly actively involved and subsequently charged, Macy seems to have side-stepped legal repercussions for the time being, despite having been recorded agreeing to the plan during a phone call, The New York Times reports.
On a call with Macy and Huffman, Singer is alleged to have asked, “Are we all O.K. with the financial side and the actual operational side of it?”
Macy is alleged to have responded, “Cool.”
Similarly, a criminal complaint obtained by the outlet that details Huffman’s alleged conduct refers to her “spouse” as taking part in the same actions as Huffman, and Singer himself reportedly told authorities that he routinely met with both Huffman and Macy together to discuss the scheme.
Huffman has addressed her actions and expressed remorse for them in a lengthy statement released shortly after news spread that she would be pleading guilty, but Macy has not been charged and has not commented publicly in regards to his own alleged actions.
Speaking to The Times, Bradley D. Simon, a former assistant United States attorney, theorized that Macy was not charged for reasons that only the prosecutors in question are privy to.
“Prosecutors have discretion as to who they charge,” Simon said. “It may be that he cooperated with federal agents and provided important information as to the involvement of others, although most likely not his wife. He also could get charged in the future.”
Professor and former prosecutor Rebecca Roiphe presented similar theories when speaking to Vulture earlier this year.
“There are a couple of different possibilities. One of the possibilities is that the husband is far less culpable,” she said. “Maybe it’s possible that the government has far more evidence than it’s laid out here, and in this evidence, that Huffman played a far more significant role than her husband.”
The United States attorney for the district of Massachusetts declined to comment to the Times in regards to Macy, citing the fact that the investigation was still ongoing.
Huffman is scheduled to learn her fate when she attends a sentencing hearing on September 13, Deadline reports.
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