Felicity Huffman could now be looking at a ‘reduced’ number of months behind bars, if she is sentenced to prison, which a criminal defense attorney predicted in an interview with HollywoodLife.
The legal system may be more lenient on Felicity Huffman, 56, after the Desperate Housewives star agreed to plead guilty to her involvement in the college admissions scandal on April 8. “By agreeing to plead guilty, Felicity’s advisory sentencing range is reduced,” Brad Bailey, a criminal defense attorney based in Boston, EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife. Huffman’s “adjusted” advisory range “could be as low as four to 10 months,” the attorney told us. However, since this possible sentencing range is labeled as “advisory,” nothing is guaranteed at the moment.
“Sentencing ranges under the U.S. sentencing guidelines are advisory only. They are not mandatory and her lawyer(s) will likely ask for a sentence of probation,” Bailey continued. Huffman could very well avoid time behind bars, as the attorney added, “She would also be eligible for a term of home confinement (house arrest) or a half-way house.” So, what’s the next step for Huffman after writing that she’ll be taking “full responsibility” for the Justice Department’s accusations? “Now that she has apparently agreed to plead guilty, her Rule 11 (change of plea hearing) can be scheduled any time,” Bailey said.
Before Felicity agreed to take accountability for her role in “Operation Varsity Blues,” Bailey estimated that the actress could face a sentencing range of 21-27 months in another interview with HollywoodLife. She faced one felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and another felony charge of honest service mail fraud after the college scandal went public on March 12, which linked 49 other people (a mix of wealthy parents, coaches, CEOs and executives) to the scheme that allegedly secured students’ admission into prestigious universities by faking test scores and athletic records. Felicity was specifically accused of making “a purported charitable contribution of $15,000” to the allegedly fraudulent Key Worldwide Foundation “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter [Sofia Grace Macy, 18],” according to court documents.
Huffman chose to be extremely apologetic in her official statement released on Monday. “I am pleading guilty to the charge brought against me by the United States Attorney’s Office. I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” the small screen star wrote, among more regretful sentiments.
Updated (4/9/2019): HollywoodLife.com has obtained a copy of Felicity Huffman’s plea agreement. The U.S. Attorney agreed, as part of the agreement, to recommend the following sentence to the Court: “a) incarceration at the low end of the Guidelines sentencing range as calculated by the U.S. Attorney in Paragraph 3; b) a fine or other financial penalty of $20,000; c) 12 months of supervised release; d) a mandatory special assessment of $100, which Defendant must pay to the Clerk of the Court by the date of sentencing; e) restitution in an amount to be determined by the Court at sentencing; and 0 forfeiture…”
So, in summation, the U.S. Attorney is going to recommend that Felicity serves 12 months of supervised release, pays a fine/penalty of $20k, and additional restitution to be determined by the court. While this means Felicity’s bank account could take a hit, she may get out from serving time behind bars.
Some additional points in the agreement include that “Defendant [Felicity] will waive Indictment and plead guilty to count one of the Information charging her with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Defendant admits that she committed the crime specified in that count and is, in fact, guilty of that crime. Defendant also agrees to waive venue, to waive any applicable statute of limitations, and to waive any legal or procedural defects in the Information. Defendant does not contest the accuracy of the Information.”
Plus, the U.S. Attorney agreed that at “at this time, no further criminal charges will be brought against the defendant in connection with the conduct set forth in the Information.”