A verdict has been reached. Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday, September 13, for her involvement in the nation’s largest college bribery scandal. A legal expert tells Us Weekly, however, that the actress’ short stint is atypical.
“A 14-day prison sentence is almost unheard of in federal prison sentences because sentences are always handed down in months or years, not days,” former United States Attorney Neama Rahmani tells Us exclusively. “I have never heard of a sentence of less than 30 days in a federal case. Maybe the judge felt pressure in this case.”
Rahmani said that U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani “obviously wanted to send a message,” adding: “Felicity certainly benefited from immediately accepting responsibility, not participating in the scheme for [her] younger daughter, and was at the low end of payment in terms of the bribe paid.”
Huffman, 56, entered the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston earlier on Friday to receive her sentencing. In addition to serving a 14-day prison stint, the Desperate Housewives alum was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service.
Earlier this month, court documents obtained by Us revealed the government initially recommended that Huffman receive a one-month sentence and a $20,000 fine.
After her courtroom appearance, Huffman issued a statement in regards to her punishment. She said she would “accept” the judge’s decision “without reservation,” noting that “there are no excuses or justifications for my actions.”
“I would like to apologize again to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions,” her statement read. “And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children. I have learned a lot over the last six months about my flaws as a person.”
She continued, “My goal now is to serve the sentence that the court has given me. I look forward to doing my community service hours and making a positive impact on my community. I also plan to continue making contributions wherever I can well after those service hours are completed.”
Huffman was indicted alongside 50 others, including fellow actress Lori Loughlin, in March for participating in the college admissions scandal. The Transamerica star pleaded guilty in May to paying to boost her 19-year-old daughter Sophia’s SAT scores. She and husband William H. Macy also share Georgia, 17.
When Huffman enters prison, she will likely be housed with inmates who committed similar crimes. Rahmani, who is the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, tells Us that “you’re not going to put Huffman with someone who’s a drug cartel” because she is serving time for a “nonviolent, white-collar” offense.
“Sexual predators tend to be at [a] much higher risk of being attacked. In this case, obviously Huffman is going to be very, very low risk,” Rahmani explained. “So she is going to be housed with other females that are sort of similarly situated.”
With reporting by Jennifer Heger and Marc Lupo