“The producers have asked me to give a special shout-out to any of our previous lead actress winners who are watching tonight from prison,” the 49-year-old actor-comedian, who served as the 71st annual ceremony’s voice-over presenter, said before a commercial break. “Hopefully those two weeks are gonna fly right by. Keep your chin up.”
FBI agents arrested Huffman, 56, at gunpoint in March after she paid $15,000 to boost her 19-year-old daughter Sophia’s SAT scores. She pleaded guilty two months later and was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison earlier this month. The judge also ordered the Desperate Housewives alum — who won an Emmy in 2005 for her role on the ABC series — to pay a $30,000 fine, serve a year of supervised release and complete 250 hours of community service.
“I broke the law. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime,” Huffman said in a statement to Us Weekly after being sentenced. “There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period. I would like to apologize to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions. 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.”
The actress, who also shares daughter Georgia, 17, with husband William H. Macy, must report to prison by October 25.
“Felicity is grateful she only received 14 days in prison,” a source told Us exclusively earlier this month. “She will serve the sentence, perform the community service, not expecting nor wanting any special favors. This process has been incredibly humbling for Felicity.”
Former United States Attorney Neama Rahmani, meanwhile, told Us that Huffman’s 14-day prison sentence “is almost unheard of,” adding, “Felicity certainly benefited from immediately accepting responsibility, not participating in the scheme for [her] younger daughter, and [being] at the low end of payment in terms of the bribe paid.”
Fellow actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were also indicted in the nationwide scandal. They allegedly paid $500,000 to get their daughters, Bella, 21, and Olivia Jade, 19, into the University of Southern California. The couple pleaded not guilty in April.