'What about William H. Macy?' People wonder why the 'Shameless' star is 'skating' as Felicity Huffman pleads guilty

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Felicity Huffman was back in federal court in Boston on Monday to enter a guilty plea in the college admissions scandal.

The Desperate Housewives actress admitted her guilt to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors suggested a sentence of four months in prison as part of her plea deal — as well as a $20,000 fine and 12 months supervised release. However, Judge Talwani made it clear to Huffman that she could impose a more stringent sentence. The sentencing will take place on Sept. 13.

Felicity Huffman arrives with her brother Moore Huffman Jr., at federal court Monday, May 13, 2019, in Boston, where she is scheduled to plead guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (Photo: AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Huffman, who clutched a tissue during the proceeding, a joint plea session with L.A. businessman Devin Sloane, shed tears in court when talking about her daughter, Sophia Macy, whose SAT scores were fixed by college consultant Rick Singer after Huffman paid $15,000 to his fake charity. Huffman said in court that her daughter — who she previously claimed was unaware of the scandal — has been under the care of a neuropsychologist since she was was 8. Huffman alluded to a diagnosis which allowed the girl to get extra time on tests, and made clear that the neuropsychiatrist had nothing to do with the scandal or bribery. (Sophia took the test at a testing center controlled by Singer and was given double the time as the regular test taker.)

Again, Huffman arrived to court hand in hand with her brother, Moore Huffman, Jr., and without husband William H. Macy renewing interest in his role in the scandal — as well as where things stand with their relationship.

A new New York Times article looks at how while Huffman was pleading guilty in the fraud, “her husband’s fate has been different.” It revisited how the Shameless star was also involved in the scheme — talking to Singer himself in a conversation recorded by feds — and even discussed using the same processes to falsifying the SAT scores of their younger daughter, though they opted not to.

Felicity Huffman arrives at court on Monday. (Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)

“What may never be known is this: Why prosecutors chose not to charge Mr. Macy, despite references in the prosecutors’ criminal complaint that suggest that Mr. Macy was not only aware of the plans, but a participant in at least some of them,” says the article. And a legal expert pointed out that “prosecutors have discretion as to who they charge. It may be that he cooperated with federal agents and provided important information as to the involvement of others, although most likely not his wife. He also could get charged in the future."

A spokeswoman for the United States attorney for the district of Massachusetts declined to comment to the NYT, saying the investigation was continuing.

And as the proceedings today played out, the internet wants to know the answer too. “What about William H. Macy?” was a question asked by many.

It’s a topic we looked at back in March when this first broke and Macy, referred to as Huffman’s “spouse” in the criminal complaint, was all over the pages. At the time, the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Massachusetts told Yahoo Entertainment, “We cannot comment on charging decisions.”

See Huffman arriving to court:

That didn’t slow speculation from legal experts. New York Magazine’Vulture spoke with New York Law School professor and former prosecutor Rebecca Roiphe, who said that one of several possibilities is simply that Macy “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.”

And criminal attorney Murray Richman told the website, “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… They will not be charged if it’s mere allegations unsubstantiated with significant proof.”

Huffman took full credit for the scheme in her apology statement last month. "I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions," she said.

While Macy appeared at Huffman’s court appearance after her arrest, he skipped the last two. There’s been gossip that their marriage has been under strain since her arrest.

Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who were also arrested in the scam, have taken a different route, pleading not guilty to paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither of them participated in the sport.

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