Felicity Huffman is speaking out for the first time about the infamous college admissions scandal in which she paid $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT scores falsified to get her into college.
“It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future,” she tells ABC News’ Marc Brown in her first sit-down interview since her 11-day incarceration in 2019. “It was sort of like my daughter’s future, which meant I had to break the law.”
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She recalls the guilt she felt when she picked her daughter up after taking the exam, saying, “I just kept thinking, ‘Turn around. Just turn around.’ And to my undying shame, I didn’t.”
According to Huffman, the brains behind the operation, Rick Singer, told her that her daughter wasn’t going to get into any of the colleges she wanted, at which point he presented her with the opportunity.
“I believed him, so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seemed like — and I know this seems crazy, at the time — that was my only option to give my daughter a future,” Huffman says. “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.”
She also recalls the dramatic moment when the FBI came to her home to take her into custody.
“They woke my daughters up at gunpoint,” she says. “Again, nothing new to the Black and brown community. They put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me and I asked if I could get dressed, and I thought it was a hoax. I literally turned to one of the FBI people in a flak jacket with a gun and went, ‘Is this a joke?'”
As for those she hurt along the way, Huffman says, “I think the people I owe a debt and an apology to is the academic community and to the students and the families that sacrifice and work really hard to get to where they’re going legitimately.”
Huffman served an 11-day prison sentence, paid a $30,000 fine and participated in community service as punishment for her crimes. She has since partnered with A New Way of Life, which provides “housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy, and leadership development for people rebuilding their lives after incarceration,” per the organization’s official website.
Hit PLAY on the video above to watch Huffman’s full interview with ABC News, then drop a comment with your thoughts below.
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