Felicity Huffman wrote a letter to the judge in the college admissions case that detailed her daughter Sophia’s emotional reaction to finding out that the Emmy winner paid to boost the 19-year-old’s SAT scores.
“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 Desperate Housewives alum, 56, wrote to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani of Massachusetts on Wednesday, September 4. “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.”
When Sophia learned about her mother’s involvement in the nationwide bribery scam, she “looked at me,” Huffman wrote, “and asked with tears streaming down her face, ‘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,” the actress admitted. “I could only say, ‘I am sorry. I was frightened and I was stupid.’ In my blind panic, I have done the exact thing I was desperate to avoid. I have compromised my daughter’s future, the wholeness of my family and my own integrity.”
Huffman wrote the three-page letter to the judge in an attempt to offer “a broader perspective and insight into who I am as a person and a parent.” In it, she acknowledged that she takes “complete responsibility for my actions and will respectfully accept whatever punishment the court deems appropriate.”
The When They See Us star claimed that she “didn’t go shopping for a college counselor to find out how to rig a SAT score” and “didn’t even know such a scheme existed.” She wrote that she had been seeking advice from doctors and experts because Sophia “was diagnosed with learning disabilities, and she has been retested every three years” since the age of 8.
Huffman wrote that she “kept going back and forth” for six weeks while trying to decide whether to pay to cheat on Sophia’s SAT scores. Ultimately, she went through with it, but the “decision haunted me terribly.” As a result, the Oscar nominee changed her mind about doing the same for her younger daughter, Georgia, 17.
“As painful as this has been, I am truly grateful for the lessons I have learned and for the opportunity to change and live more honestly,” she concluded her letter. “I am now focusing on repairing my relationship with my daughter, my family and making amends to my community.”
Huffman pleaded guilty to fraud charges in May, two months after being arrested at gunpoint by FBI agents. Federal prosecutors recommended that she be sentenced to one month in jail, a $20,000 fine and 12 months of supervised release after completing her time behind bars.
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