Cape Town – Following the arrest of actress Felicity Huffman, one question has been on everyone's mind – why was her famous husband William H. Macy not also charged?
The Desperate Housewives actress was arrested and charged on Tuesday in a scheme in which up to 50 wealthy parents allegedly bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the nation's most selective schools.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
The document, obtained by People, alleges Huffman paid $15 000 to a 'charity organisation' – started by William Singer, who also runs a college preparatory business – in exchange for its help to fraudulently boost their eldest daughter, Sofia’s SAT scores.
More specifically, Huffman and Macy are reported to have met with Singer – who has pleaded guilty to his role in the scandal – in their Los Angeles home where they were allegedly told that a proctor could by secretly correct any incorrect test answers in her SAT test.
According to the indictment, Singer told investigators "Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan".
For her involvement Huffman is being charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
But if Macy was mentioned in the indictment, then why was he also not charged?
The indictment goes on to explain that Huffman and Macy agreed that Sofia would take the SAT test in December 2017 as Singer had made a supervisor aware that the teen would need extra time and assistance.
It also states that Huffman and Singer had discussed making the same arrangement for their younger daughter - who had not taken the test before - with Macy over the phone in 2018, but decided not to go through with it and rather let the 17-year-old first take the test without assistance.
SEVERAL THEORIES ABOUT NOT BEING CHARGED
While the FBI has not yet provided an official reason as to why Macy was not charged, several experts have offered possible reasons.
New York Law School professor and former prosecutor, Rebecca Roiphe, told Vulture: "One of the possibilities is that the husband is far less culpable. Maybe it’s possible that the government has far more evidence than it’s laid out here, and in this evidence, that Huffman played a far more significant role than her husband."
Veteran criminal attorney Murray Richman reiterated the statement, saying: "If there’s no active participation in the wrongdoing, the spouse will not be charged. Mere knowledge, even with the presence, does not constitute criminal conduct."
Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student activism, shared his theory in a tweet, writing: "It appears that the prosecutors only have evidence of his involvement in the scheme regarding his and Huffman’s second daughter, and they didn’t actually pull the trigger on the SAT-fixing for her. With Huffman they have a string of emails and calls relating to both daughters."
READ HIS FULL TWEETS HERE:
WHAT'S NEXT IN THE CASE
Felicity was released after posting $250k bond.
Lori Loughlin - who was also charged with her husband Mossimo Giannulli for paying $500k to have their two daughters labelled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither is a rower – surrendered to FBI on Wednesday was released after posting $1m bond.
All three culprits have been ordered to appear in federal court in Boston on 29 March, E! News reports.
James Cohen, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, told USA Today more about the penalties involved in the case, saying: "Each count carries a minimum of five years in prison."
He added that while significant fines will also be involved, that each person charged is very likely to face more than one count, therefore jail time is a very real possibility.