Prosecutors advised a one-month prison sentence for Felicity Huffman, but a criminal attorney told us how she could avoid sitting inside a cell. In fact, he’d be ‘surprised’ if the ‘Desperate Housewives’ star was put behind bars.
Update 9/13/19: Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty to felony fraud charges in the college admissions scandal and a representative from the Department of Justice tells HollywoodLife that “the Bureau of Prisons will designate her to a facility.” And although Bailey said she could be eligible for house arrest, Edward Molari, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife that “she will likely serve all, or almost all, of those 14 days. There are provisions for things like credit for participating in programming, but with a short sentence it is (1) unlikely that she will have access to any significant programming, (2) unlikely that she would be prioritized over other people to be placed in that programming, and (3) and in any case, federal prisoners do not have good time awarded until after serving one year.”
Felicity Huffman, 56, is just one day away from learning her punishment for her role in the college admissions scandal. The Desperate Housewives star will be sentenced in a Massachusetts court on Sept. 13, and the question lingers — will she actually be put behind bars, if she’s actually sentenced to prison? After federal prosecutors advised for a one-month prison sentence in recent days, a Boston-based criminal attorney, Brad Bailey, took a jab at that question in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “I will be surprised if she is sentenced to jail,” Bailey told us. “I’m guessing she will be deemed eligible to serve it on home-confinement/house arrest or in a half-way house.”
You see, the entirety of a prison sentence doesn’t always need to be served in jail for low-risk inmates. “Generally speaking when a sentenced inmate has the lesser of 10 percent or six months of their sentence left to serve, they are eligible for home confinement or a half-way house,” the attorney explained to HollywoodLife. Bailey continued, “So it’s possible a one month sentence would be served out that way, but the ways of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) can be mysterious.” You can find that special exception in Section 251 of the Second Chance Act, which was reauthorized by the signing of the First Step Act of 2018.
With a sentence to home confinement or a half-way home as a possibility, does that mean Felicity can remain in her home base of Los Angeles? “Her lawyers can make that request and a judge can recommend that, but ultimately the BOP [U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons] gets to decide,” Bailey told us. “Normally, BOP tries to ‘house’ within a 500 mile radius of their home; and inmates with health issues are likely to be sentenced to the nearest federal medical facility.” Whatever facility Felicity is assigned, the criminal attorney told us that the actress “will likely be allowed to self-report to the designated facility six weeks (42 days) from now.”
Felicity’s lawyers have reportedly been fighting against jail time, asking instead for “probation and community service,” according to our sister website Variety. The mother of Sophia, 19, and Georgia, 17, added extra pathos to the case by penning a letter to Judge Indira Talwani before the sentencing, in which she explained why she paid Rick Singer $15,000 — which prosecutors claimed she disguised as a tax-deductible charitable contribution — to have a proctor change her daughter’s SAT answers. She also enlisted the help of 27 loved ones, including husband William H. Macy and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, to pen letters for the judge. Felicity tearfully pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in a federal court on May 13.