AP Photo/Charles Krupa, REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl
- Felicity Huffman will be the first parent in the college admissions scandal to be sentenced on Friday.
- Huffman pleaded guilty to fraud charges in May and admitted to paying $15,000 to have an SAT proctor correct her daughter's exam answers.
- Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence Huffman to a month in jail for her role in the bribery scandal. She has asked for a year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine instead.
- Loughlin, meanwhile, who is accused alongside her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, of paying the scheme's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer, $500,000 to guarantee their daughters' admissions to USC, pleaded not guilty and faces up to 40 years in prison.
- Legal experts told Insider that Huffman's sentencing could be an indication of what sentences other parents might face, and it may even make some who pleaded not guilty, like Loughlin, change their pleas.
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Felicity Huffman is set to become the first parent in the college admissions scandal to be sentenced on Friday — and her sentence could make Lori Loughlin flip her plea deal to guilty, legal experts told Insider.
Huffman pleaded guilty to fraud charges in May and admitted to paying $15,000 to have an SAT proctor correct her daughter's exam answers.
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence Huffman to a month in jail for her role in the bribery scandal, according to a filing from the US attorney's office seen by Insider.
Huffman has asked for a year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine instead. The "Desperate. Housewives" star filed letters from her former co-star Eva Longoria and her husband, William H. Macy, in her support.
Huffman is one of 51 people charged in the scheme, in which prosecutors say parents paid the scheme's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer, to bribe college coaches and test administrators to get their children into elite schools.
Also among the defendants is former "Full House" star Loughlin, who is accused alongside her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, of paying Singer $500,000 to guarantee their daughters' admissions to USC. They have both pleaded not guilty.
Huffman is the first parent to be sentenced in the college admissions scandal
Legal experts told Insider that because Huffman is the first parent being sentenced, her sentencing could be an indication of what other parents will face, and it might even make some who pleaded not guilty, like Loughlin, change their pleas.
"Huffman [pleaded guilty] early, when everyone else was pleading not guilty, requesting discovery, trying to mount a defense," Louis Shapiro, a federal defense attorney in Los Angeles, told Insider. "She's going to be rewarded for that."
He said that prosecutors have asked for a month sentence "because they don't want to come across looking too soft in the public's view."
"What they're doing is lobbing the ball to the defense to hit a home run, basically, and get community service," for Huffman, Shapiro said.
Adam Citron, a former New York prosecutor who practices at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, agreed that Huffman's case could be indicative of what's to come.
"Obviously if she sees other parents aren't receiving jail time on their pleas … if I was Lori Loughlin, it would definitely encourage me to plead guilty — if that plea deal is even still open to her," he told Insider.
If Loughlin goes to trial and is found guilty, she could face up to 40 years in prison
AP Photo/Steven Senne
Huffman and Loughlin's cases are very different, despite stemming from the same case: Loughlin faces an additional charge, their pleas are different, and they are facing different judges.
If Loughlin is found guilty in a trial, she could face up to 40 years in prison.
Citron said he doesn't believe Loughlin will receive 40 years, but if she takes the case to trial, there could be consequences.
"I do think that there's something to be said about stepping up to the plate and admitting your guilt and showing remorse and showing accountability," he told Insider. "I think that if she fights it and ultimately there is a guilty verdict, she's expended the court's time, the government's time, and that's all considered during sentencing. Courts want to see the defendant admit culpability and acknowledge culpability."
Dmitry Gorin, a former prosecutor in Los Angeles who now works as a defense attorney, told Insider one reason Loughlin may change her plea is if Huffman receives no jail.
"Ultimately, if I were representing her, I would focus on how weak or strong is the evidence against her, to decide on whether or not to take a plea deal," he told Insider.
Huffman will be sentenced on Friday. Loughlin's next court hearing is October 2.
A previous verions of this story misquoted Dmitry Gorin in saying the only way Loughlin would change her plea is if Huffman receives no jail. That has been ammended.
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