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Felicity Huffman breaks silence about college admission scandal: "Undying shame"

Felicity Huffman gets 14 days in prison
Felicity Huffman gets 14 days in prison 02:39

Felicity Huffman has broken her silence about her participation in the 2019 college admission scandal that sent her to jail and  shockwaves throughout Hollywood. 

Fifty people were charged, including Huffman and Lori Loughlin, of ABC's "Full House," in an operation feds dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues." Wealthy and celebrity parents — 33 parents in total — allegedly paid thousands of dollars to rig test scores and athletic prowess so their children could get into elite colleges.

Huffman sent $15,000 disguised as a tax-deductible charitable contribution to a foundation operated by William Singer, the admissions consultant at the heart of the scandal. Singer arranged for a particular proctor to ensure Huffman's daughter scored well on a college entrance exam.

"I felt I had to give my daughter a chance at a future," Huffman told ABC 7 in an interview. "Which meant I had to break the law."

Huffman said as she drove her daughter to the SAT exam to which she paid someone to falsify the results she kept thinking, "turn around, turn around," and to her "undying shame" she didn't.

"It felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn't do it – so I did it." Months later the FBI showed up at her home and woke her daughters up at gunpoint, Huffman said in the interview.  "I thought it was a hoax." 

Huffman pleaded guilty to the charges. She was sentenced to 14 days in jail, one year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine. She was the first parent to be sentenced for her role in the massive nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, and was released after 11 days in jail.

Several local college athletic coaches were fired for helping students be admitted as student-athletes, even though they had no experience in the sports they were being recruited for, in exchange for donations to the athletic programs or outright bribes.

Huffman told ABC 7 that she was speaking out now because she wanted to use her experience and pain to "do something good," and "shine a light" on the not-for-profit A New Way of Life, which helps female ex-offenders get back on their feet. Huffman, who now serves on the organization's board, did her court-ordered community service there.   

Her daughter, Sophia Macy reportedly didn't know about the scheme and now attends the theater program at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Brian Pascus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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