Felicity Huffman was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in prison for her role in the the "Varsity Blues" college scandal.
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The "Desperate Wives" actress was sentenced at U.S. District Court in Boston. She'll also have to pay a $30,000 fine, compete 250 hours of community service and serve a year of probation.
Huffman's lawyers had asked she avoid jail time, instead receiving just a one-year probation term, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine. Federal prosecutors had sought one month of incarceration, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a fine of $20,000.
As part of her attorneys' campaign for the judge to go easier on Huffman, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to fraud charges and admitted that she paid $15,000 for her daughter's SAT score to be falsified, several people in her inner circle wrote letters to U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani in which they described Huffman's character.
Those people include:
1. William H. Macy: The actor, who married Huffman in 1997 and shares two daughters with her, described his wife as a doting mother who has "always been determined that nothing will stop our daughters from becoming women in full." Explaining that she is able to "see [their children] not as we wish they were or what we hope they might become, but who they actually are," he also shared how she taught her girls to develop a firm handshake and recalled that once she baked 25 cakes for a child's birthday party. However, he added, "Motherhood has, from the very beginning, frightened Felicity." "She has not carried being a mom easily," he added. "She's struggled to find the balance between what the experts say and her common sense."
2. Laura Bauer: A costume designer for Broadway shows and Hollywood projects, Bauer has been friends with Huffman for 30 years. Flicka, as friends call Huffman, is the person her pals know will answer a panicked call in the middle of the night. After describing how Huffman helped her through a medical emergency, she added that Huffman can also be "overly impressionable." Still, "Felicity and Bill's home has been a gathering place for so many," she wrote. "They are a hub of kindness and generosity."
3. Todd Weeks: The actor, a friend of Huffman's since 1986, described Huffman as a woman who invited him, his wife and their baby into her home when they moved from New York City to Los Angeles. "Over the years, when Flicka helps you find the proper prenatal doctor or bakes a cake and hosts a family member's birthday or special occasion, or insists her daughters babysit so that, as she explains, they will learn the value of P/T work while my wife and I can be reminded of the value of actually going on a date, there's never any thanks required," he wrote. "In her mind, these acts of kindness are practical, necessary and she has the means to do it."
4. Marc Cherry: Huffman starred in a show created by Cherry, "Desperate Housewives," and in his letter, the television writer shared stories of her compassion on-set, including helping an elderly co-star with lines and being polite to a rude cast member. "I've got lots of stories like this about Felicity. I also remember little moments," he wrote. "The way she held a co-star's hands when she was crying about not being able to have children. The encouraging things Felicity said to me when I was affected by a bad review. The loving, but firm manner she used to guide the young actors who played her children on the show. ... Any mercy you show this woman will not be wasted."
4. Eva Longoria Baston: Huffman's friend and "Desperate Housewives" co-star described her as a protector on-set and someone who always made her feel important when she was a "young, naïve, Mexican girl who felt like I didn't belong." She also helped her renegotiate her contract and argue for a rate on par with the more experienced actors. "Felicity stood up for me, saying it was fair because the success of the show depended on all of us," she wrote. "This fight lasted weeks, but Felicity held strong and convinced everyone this was the right thing to do. And thanks to her, I was bumped up to favored nations."
5. Isabel Belden, Grace Huffman, Jessie Huffman: Huffman is one of eight siblings, and a handful of them wrote letters of support. In one, Belden shared how her younger sister was there for her after the death of her son, Grant. "She gave me two gifts: her time and presence," Belden wrote. "I have always admired Felicity because she has never backed down from challenges or been afraid to stand up for what she believes in." Grace Huffman added that Huffman was also there when she needed a support system during her divorce, both emotionally and financially. She also explained how her sibling helped create the memorial program for their late sister, Jane. "One of Felicity's greatest qualifies is that she always shows up for others ," she wrote. "She is selfless." Jessie Huffman shared how her actress sister stayed by her side when she was placed in intensive care because of diabetes and kidney failure. "She helped me navigate how this diagnosis would change my life forever," she wrote. "On both occasions she cooked for me, she cleaned for me, but most importantly she showed up for me with her love and devotion."
6. Daniel and Ben Barnz: Former neighbors and longtime friends, the Barnzes wrote that Huffman loved to use her Crockpot to whip up family dinners and especially loved to host Halloween at her house. "One year they transformed their home into a haunted house," they recalled. "In one room Felicity was a 'scary witch' and reenacted the same 'scene' for every group of children that came through."
8. Amelia Hamilton: A woman who has raised her daughter alongside Huffman's family for nearly 15 years, Hamilton shared that she and the actress would hike together. "We would often talk about how wonderful AND hard [motherhood] was at the same time," she explained. "Her ability to talk openly about the challenges of motherhood helped me take a breathe [sic] and realize that I was not alone."