Actress Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

In this file photo taken on April 3, 2019, actress Felicity Huffman exits the courthouse after facing charges for allegedly conspiring to commit mail fraud and other charges in the college admissions scandal at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2019
0

Actress Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

  • The Boston Globe said that as part of a plea agreement, Huffman’s sentencing guidelines would be between four to 10 months in prison

NEW YORK: Actress Felicity Huffman and a dozen other parents agreed on Monday to plead guilty to using bribery to get their children into prestigious universities.
Huffman, 56, best known for her role in the “Desperate Housewives” series, agreed to plead guilty to paying $15,000 to help her eldest daughter get better scores on the SAT college entrance exam, the Massachusetts Department of Justice said in a statement.
Huffman’s equally famous husband, actor William H. Macy of “Fargo” fame, was not charged in connection with the college admissions scandal.
The Massachusetts Department of Justice said that in addition to Huffman, another dozen parents charged in the case had also agreed to plead guilty.
Huffman could face a maximum of up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud but is not expected to receive such a stiff sentence.
The Boston Globe said that as part of a plea agreement, Huffman’s sentencing guidelines would be between four to 10 months in prison and prosecutors would recommend she serve the “low end” of that scale.
The newspaper also published a statement from Huffman in which she apologized for her actions.
“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community,” she said.
“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,” Huffman said. “My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

Another television actress, Lori Loughlin, known for her role on “Full House,” has also been charged in the case but did not enter a plea on Monday.
Loughlin and her husband are accused of paying $500,000 in 2016 and 2017 so that their two daughters could gain entrance into the University of Southern California by posing as members of the rowing team.
The actresses were the most famous of the 50 people indicted in a scam to help children of the American elite gain entry into top US colleges.
Some of the other parents involved were CEOs or partners in major law firms.
Some of them paid as much as $400,000 to get their child into the college of their choice.
The ringleader behind the scam, William “Rick” Singer, who authorities say was paid about $25 million dollars to bribe coaches and university administrators, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.
Besides USC, some of the universities targeted in the elaborate cheating scam include Yale, Stanford, UCLA and Georgetown. None of the schools or the students have been charged in the case.
According to prosecutors, the accused parents paid a firm run by Singer to cheat on college entrance exams for their children or to bribe coaches to help non-athletic students get scholarships.


India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

Indian National Congress party president Rahul Gandhi (C) gestures after laying a wreath to pay tribute on the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs memorial in Amritsar on April 13, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 28 min 42 sec ago
0

India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

  • Rahul Gandhi is standing in Wayanad in Kerala state, taking a risk as south India is considered a stronghold of regional parties
  • This election is seen as a referendum on his five-year rule — which has seen impressive economic growth but not the jobs that the BJP promised

NEW DELHI: Indians are voting Tuesday in the third phase of the general elections with campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party and the opposition marred by bitter accusations and acrimony.
People lined up outside voting station at several places even before the polling started at 7 a.m.
The voting for 117 parliamentary seats in 13 states and two Union Territories on Tuesday means polls are half done for 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The voting over seven phases ends May 19, with counting scheduled for May 23.
The election is seen as a referendum on Modi’s five-year rule. He has adopted a nationalist pitch trying to win the majority Hindu votes by projecting a tough stance against Islamic neighbor Pakistan.
The opposition is challenging him for a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers’ distress aggravated by low crop prices.
Modi is scheduled to vote on Tuesday in his western home state of Gujarat, though he is contesting for a parliamentary seat from Varanasi, a city in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The voting also is taking place in Wayanad constituency in southern Kerala state, one of the two seats from where opposition Congress party president, Rahul Gandhi, is contesting. His home bastion, Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh state will have polling on May 6. He will give up one seat if he wins from both places.
The voting is staggered to facilitate movement of security forces to oversee an orderly election and avoid vote fraud.
India’s autonomous Election Commission intervened last week to block hate speeches by imposing a temporary ban on campaigning by some top politicians across political parties.
Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Yogi Adityanath of Modi’s BJP was barred from campaigning, in the form of public meetings, road shows or media interviews, for three days for making anti-Muslim speeches. He said a Hindu god will ensure the BJP victory in elections, while the opposition was betting on Muslim votes.
Mayawati, a leader of Bahujan Samaj Party, was punished for 48 hours for appealing to Muslims to vote only for her party. India’s top court ordered strict action against politicians for religion and caste-based remarks.
Hindus comprise 80% and Muslims 16% of India’s 1.3 billion people. The opposition accuses the BJP of trying to polarize the Hindu votes in its favor.
Meenakshi Lekhi, a BJP leader, filed a contempt of court petition against Rahul Gandhi in the Supreme Court for misrepresenting a court order while accusing Modi of corruption in a deal to buy 36 French Rafale fighter aircraft. Modi denies the charge.
Modi has used Kashmir to pivot away from his economic record, playing up the threat of rival Pakistan, especially after the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy on Feb. 14 that killed 40 soldiers, in a bid to appear a strong, uncompromising leader on national security. The bombing brought nuclear rivals India and Pakistan close to the brink of war.
Opposition parties have consistently said that Modi and his party leaders are digressing from the main issues such as youth employment and farmers’ suicides.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.