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The Latest: Huffman says she accepts college scam punishment

FILE - In this April 3, 2019 file photo, actress Felicity Huffman arrives at federal court in Boston to face charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Huffman, who pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy and fraud in May, is returning for sentencing in federal on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 court in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Felicity Huffman says she will accept whatever punishment the court deems appropriate. And in just a few short hours, the seasoned actress finds out what price she will pay for her role in what authorities called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.

Huffman, who along with fellow actress Lori Loughlin are among the most high-profile parents to be caught up in the admissions scandal, will be sentenced on Friday.

And while the former "Desperate Housewives" actress is expected to address a packed courtroom during her sentencing, Huffman already submitted a letter to Judge Indira Talwani last week in which she tried to explain why she gave the scam's mastermind $15,000 to boost her daughter's SAT scores.

"In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot," Huffman said in the three-page letter. "I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter and failed my family."

Huffman's letter adds yet another dimension to the sentencing decision that will await Talwani.

Prosecutors and the defense differ on sentence length

After Huffman pleaded guilty this year to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, prosecutors, defense attorneys and even US Probation and Pretrial Services officials have been battling over how the mother of two should be punished.

Prosecutors have suggested one month in prison and a $20,000 fine for Huffman.

Her lawyers are asking for no jail time, one year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Huffman's defense team says the government's sentencing memo cited examples of previous cases that are "very different" than hers, and any comparison is "apples to oranges."

Huffman's lawyers argued that the sentencing guidelines in those cases were much higher and reserved for the mastermind of schemes, not mere participants.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, have argued that universities and testing companies were the victims of the schemes, and the amount that parents paid should correspond to the penalties' severity.

Amanda St. Amand • 314-340-8201

@mandystlpd on Twitter

astamand@post-dispatch.com