Just days before Felicity Huffman’s sentencing, the actress confesses that she feels shameful and remorseful about her involvement in the college admissions scandal. Huffman, known for her starring role on Desperate Housewives, paid $15,000 to a fake charity that rigged her daughter’s SAT score. She pled guilty in May.
Huffman will face her sentence on Friday. Although the judge’s decision will not be revealed until then, prosecutors have suggested that the actress serve around four months in prison in addition to paying a $20,000 fine. Her defense lawyers have countered these suggestions by saying that Huffman should instead serve one year of probation with 250 hours of community service and the $20,000 fine.
Last week, Huffman included a three-page letter to the judge in an attorney filing. She clearly outlined her intentions in the letter, writing that its purpose was to “shed light on how [she] finally got to the day when [she] said ‘Yes’ to this scheme.”
“I don’t write this letter to you in any way to justify my wrongdoing, my guilt or to avoid conscious acceptance of the consequences,” Huffman wrote.
“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,” the letter continued.
“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.”
The actress went on to discuss her daughter’s learning disabilities and medical concerns. “The factual story is that I didn’t go shopping for a college counselor to find out how to rig an SAT score. I didn’t even know such a scheme existed,” the letter read, elaborating that she had only sought out to hire a counselor who would be able to help her daughter legally achieve a better outcome in the college admission process.
Explaining how she came into contact with William Singer, the mastermind behind the scandal, Huffman wrote, “Mr. [William ‘Rick’] Singer was recommended as one of the best experts in LA, and I was told I would be lucky if I could get him to sign on to help me.”
Huffman described how she worked with Singer for a full year before anything illegal took place. Singer advised Huffman on her younger daughter, who also experienced learning disabilities, as well.
“I was relieved that he seemed so good at his job, was so confident and knowledgeable,” she wrote.
When the test scores of Huffman’s daughter failed to improve over the course of her first year working with Singer, the counselor advised another approach.
“Mr. Singer told me that her test scores were too low, and if her math SAT scores didn’t rise dramatically, none of the colleges she was interested in would even consider her auditions,” Huffman included in the letter. “I honestly didn’t and don’t care about my daughter going to a prestigious college. I just wanted to give her a shot at being considered for a program where her acting talent would be the deciding factor.”
When Singer finally said that the conventional effort to improve her daughter’s scores “wasn’t enough,” he suggested that they hire a proctor who could raise her test scores following the exam. According to the letter, Singer insisted that Huffman’s daughter would never know of this decision and that it would allow her to “‘concentrate on what really matters: her grades and her auditions.’”
Huffman took six weeks to decide to follow Singer’s advice. “As warped as this sounds now, I honestly began to feel that maybe I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do what Mr. Singer was suggesting,” she admitted in the letter.
Huffman described her “utter shame” at agreeing to cheat her daughter’s way into a prestigious school. She even considered doing the same thing for her second daughter, but deep down she knew that it was wrong. “The decision haunted me terribly,” she wrote. “I knew it was not right.” Ultimately, she made the decision to end things with her older daughter’s admission. Her second daughter would never become involved in the scandal.
Upon learning of the scandal, Huffman’s older daughter was devastated. Huffman described her reaction in the letter, detailing the moment she came to her crying, “‘Why didn’t you believe in me? Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?’”
“I had no adequate answer for her,” Huffman wrote. “I was frightened and I was stupid.”
She concluded the letter by saying that she understands that “there is no justification for what [she has] done.” Bearing this in mind, she vows to “respectfully accept whatever punishment the court deems appropriate.”