Felicity Huffman Tells Court She Was Desperate to Be a Good Mother in Plea for Probation

The actress' husband William H. Macy also told the court motherhood "frightened" his wife from the beginning.
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Felicity Huffman

Felicity Huffman is asking a Massachusetts federal judge for sympathy and leniency after admitting to paying $15,000 to "Operation Varsity Blues" mastermind Rick Singer to falsify her daughter’s SAT scores.

While she acknowledges she committed a crime, the actress is asking U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to consider “five critical facts” before her sentencing, according to a Friday filing. In short, those facts are: She contacted Singer because she heard he was “one of the best college counselors in California,” not with the intent to falsify scores; Huffman’s daughter has a learning disability, and that made it even more important to make sure she had help preparing; Singer gave Huffman legitimate, legal education advice for almost a year before suggesting the SAT scheme; Singer told Huffman her daughter would face worse admission odds because she wasn’t a legacy, an athlete or the child of a major donor and their efforts would level the playing field; and Huffman consciously decided not to repeat the cheating for her younger daughter.

Huffman and prosecutors have agreed that a sentence of zero to six months is typical for such a crime, and are asking the court to impose one year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine.

Both Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, wrote letters to Talwani in support of the request.

The actress tells the court she really didn’t care about her daughter getting into a “prestigious” college, but she didn’t want her dream of getting into theater or film school to be crushed “because she can’t do math.”

“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” Huffman writes. “When my daughter looked at me and asked with tears streaming down her face, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me? Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?’ I had no adequate answer for her.”

The actress says in a “blind panic” she compromised her daughter’s future, her family and her integrity.

Macy, meanwhile, lauds how his wife raised their daughters.

"[M]otherhood has, from the very beginning, frightened Felicity and she has not carried being a mom easily,” Macy tells the court. “She’s struggled to find the balance between what experts say, and her common sense.”

The actor also tells the court he, his wife and their two daughters have been seeing a family therapist following Huffman’s arrest and they’re making progress — although he expects “some of the hurt and anger will take years to work through.”

Macy also says it’s “not clear when or how” Huffman will resume acting, and notes she hasn’t received any job offers or landed any auditions since her arrest.

Their older daughter is taking a gap year after her top choice (which Macy notes “ironically” doesn’t require the SAT) withdrew an offer to audition after the scandal broke. Her younger sister is “taking the lead” in her own college applications.

Macy ends on a positive note, telling Talwani, “[E]very good thing in my life is because of Felicity Huffman.”

Huffman is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 13.