BOSTON — A federal judge 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 sentenced Huffman to prison time as well as a $30,000 fine, supervised release for one year and 250 hours of community service in the case’s first sentencing of a parent – a defendant who is also one of the case’s most famous.
She was confronted in court by a prosecutor who argued for a prison term and said she had shown “disdain and contempt for the rule of law.” But her legal team argued that she should not be treated “more harshly” because of her wealth and fame.
Judge Talwani said she made her decision based 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.
“Our current admissions process does not ensure there’s not a backdoor" into college through bribery and cheating, the judge said.
“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 was directed to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons by Oct. 25. “Ms. Huffman, I wish you success moving forward,” the judge told her.
Her husband, actor William H. Macy, rubbed his wife’s back and held her hand they left the courtroom.