Felicity Huffman said she had second thoughts about driving her daughter to take the SAT test in 2017 after the “Desperate Housewives” actress paid $15,000 to rig the teen’s test results.
“She was going, ‘Can we get ice cream afterwards?’” Huffman told KABC. “I’m scared about the test. What can we do that’s fun? And I kept thinking, turn around, just turn around. And to my undying shame, I didn’t.”
Huffman spoke with KABC for the first time this week about the college admissions scandal that ensnared her and dozens of other wealthy parents in 2019, including “Full House” star Lori Laughlin and Laughlin’s husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli.
Huffman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud after prosecutors said she paid admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer $15,000, which she disguised as a charitable donation, to rig her daughter’s SAT score. She served 11 days in prison and completed a year of supervised release following her guilty plea.
She told KABC that she didn’t approach Singer, who was highly recommended to her, with plans to break the law. She said it was about a year after she first contacted him that “he started to say your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to.”
“And I believed him. And so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seems like - and I know this seems crazy at the time - but that was my only option to give my daughter a future,” she said.
“And I know hindsight is 20/20 but it felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do it. So - I did it.”
When the FBI showed up at her house months later, Huffman said she “thought it was a hoax.”
“They woke my daughters up at gunpoint,” she told KABC. “Again, nothing new to the Black and brown community. Then they put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me and I asked if I could get dressed.”
At one point she said she “literally turned to one of the FBI people, in a flack jacket and a gun, and I went is this a joke?”
Speaking with KABC, Huffman apologized, saying, “I think the people I owe a debt and apology to is the academic community. And to the students and the families that sacrifice and work really hard to get to where they are going legitimately.”
She spoke up about her experience to promote A New Way of Life, a Los Angeles nonprofit founded in 1998 that is focused on helping women reenter society after incarceration. Huffman did her court-ordered community service at the nonprofit and has since joined its board, according to KABC.
“I saw what A New Way of Life was doing, which is they heal one woman at a time - and if you heal one woman, you heal her children, you heal her grandchildren and you heal the community,” she said.