The parents indicted in the college admissions scandal were universally condemned for using their privilege to get their kids ahead in a system that already favours the white and rich, but Felicity Huffman is trying to save face. The actress announced that she will be pleading guilty to paying $15,000 USD disguised as a "charitable payment" to a witness who helped unfairly facilitate improved SAT scores for her daughter. In the court of public opinion, that ironically might be her saving grace.
As for Lori Loughlin, another parent indicted by the FBI, a somewhat different picture is being painted.
In the time since the news of indictments broke last month, Loughlin's behaviour has worked against her. She was out of the country and had to fly back to turn herself in, and one of her daughters, Olivia Jade, was on a yacht when the report came out. Just last week, Loughlin was all smiles outside the Boston courtroom after signing autographs outside of her hotel room. Her day to day life still involves going to yoga and using valet services for her car. Now, she and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have both pled not guilty to the charges of fraud. They face a minimum of four years and nine months in prison, but a maximum of 20 years now that prosecutors have added money laundering charges. They have yet to release a statement. While Loughlin is innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law, she's done nothing in the public eye to dispute the unbridled privilege the charges suggest.
Huffman, however, has kept her head down and expressed contrition for her role in the scandal. The statement she released on her plea acknowledged much of the criticism aimed at the parents indicted, directly apologizing 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."
In a statement, Felicity Huffman says she’s pleading guilty.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 8, 2019
“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.” pic.twitter.com/T6tx1VUiCE
It's possible that neither of their approaches are unplanned. Loughlin appears to be leaning on her fame and her position as a beloved '90s actress to keep her image afloat during these sticky times, while Huffman is attempting to get back into the good graces of the public by doing the right thing as soon as possible. However, while Huffman's side of the story may be wrapping up, this new not guilty plea means Loughlin's is just getting started.