The Desperate Housewives actress, 56, will face a judge at 2:30 pm on Friday. Prosecutors have recommended that she serve one month in prison, 12 years of supervised release, and pay a $20,000 fine. Huffman’s lawyers are asking that she receive one year of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine.
The final sentencing decision will be at the discretion of the judge.
On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that it had charged 50 people — including Huffman and fellow actress Lori Loughlin — in the cheating scandal. The two actresses, along with coaches, admissions counselors, parents, and Laughlin’s husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, were indicted on accusations of falsifying SAT scores and lying about their athletic skills, among other alleged crimes.
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Prosecutors said in a criminal complaint that Huffman paid $15,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), which prosecutors said was actually a front for accepting bribes. Singer then allegedly facilitated cheating on Huffman’s daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers after the fact.
Huffman discussed the scheme in a phone call with Singer that was recorded by investigators.
In an emotional letter to the judge, Huffman says it was “desperation to be a good mother” that led her to pay $15,000 to fake her daughter’s SAT scores — and she’ll feel “utter shame” for the rest of her life.
Huffman, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, said that her older daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with learning disabilities at age 8.
“I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” she wrote to the judge of paying Singer to have a proctor change Sophia’s SAT answers after she took the test.
A source previously told PEOPLE Huffman is heartbroken about the pain she has caused her family.
“She is focused right now on repairing her relationships within her family and helping put their lives back together,” the source said. “As a mother and wife, she wants to do everything she can to heal her family.”
“She is willing to pay whatever price she has to pay for breaking the law,” the source continued. “She is committed to making amends to the public and to the educational community and giving back in a substantive way.”
A legal expert told PEOPLE that although prosecutors recommended one month behind bars, it’s unlikely she’ll serve any time.
“That is such a nominal amount of time, the prosecutors are sending a signal to the judge [that they’re okay with] the judge placing her on probation without imposing jail time,” says LA-based criminal defense attorney J. Tooson, who is not associated with the case. “The argument is the conviction alone is sufficient punishment and a wake up call for the client, for which she must suffer the consequences for the rest of her life. Imposing jail time will not further any public safety goal and the conduct has already been deterred.”