‘Deep regret and shame’: Felicity Huffman to plead guilty in US college admissions scandal

By Zach Harper

Former Desperate Housewives star and mom-of-two Felicity Huffman says she’s “ashamed” and has “betrayed” her daughter, and intends to plead guilty to using bribery and other fraud in connection with a college admissions scandal that rocked some of America’s most prestigious post-secondary schools.

“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,” Felicity said in a statement, according to CNN.

“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her,” Felicity continued. “This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

A complaint says the Emmy Award-winner admitted to paying US$15,000 to California college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, which was disguised as a charitable donation and was intended “facilitate cheating” on her daughter’s SAT score, CNN reports. Twelve other parents and a coach will also plead guilty.

Felicity at court in Los Angeles on March 12. Photo: © David McNew / AFP / Getty Images

Felicity was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She faces up to 20 years in prison, according to CNN. Actor William H. Macy, Felicity’s husband, was not charged in the case.

Prominent California real estate developer Bruce Isackson and his wife Davina will also plead guilty to charges in connection with the case. Former University of Texas at Austin men’s tennis coach Michael Center will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud. The Associated Press reports he was accused of taking nearly US$100,000 in bribes to admit an applicant who didn’t play tennis as a recruited tennis athlete.

Rick Singer pleaded guilty to the charges against him on March 12. Prosecutors said he ran the largest college admissions cheating scandal in American history, according to CNN. He was accused of helping affluent parents pay to raise their children’s SAT scores, along with bribing coaches to wrongly admit students as recruited athletes.

Lori Loughlin arriving at court in Boston on April 3. Photo: © Joseph Prezioso / AFP / Getty Images

Former Full House star Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli are also facing charges in connection with the case. They are accused of paying US$500,000 to have their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as rowing recruits, according to CNN, and are not among those who said they will plead guilty on Monday.

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