Actress Felicity Huffman, star of Desperate Housewives, on Friday was hit with a two-week jail sentence for her role in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, in which Huffman admitted paying a $15,000 bribe to rig her daughter's SAT scores. But Huffman's sentence was immediately and widely criticized as a stunning example of "white privilege," according to a report by The Independent newspaper.
According to the Independent report, critics compared Huffman's sentence of just 14 days for a felony offense to the much stiffer sentences routinely handed out to African-American defendants in felony cases. In particular, Huffman's case was compared to that of homeless Connecticut woman Tanya McDowell, who was arrested in 2011 for enrolling her 6-year old son in a school outside the district where she lived.
Though McDowell was also later arrested on drug charges, prosecutors refused to separate her school enrollment and drug cases, and she was sentenced to 12 years behind bars, according to The Stamford Advocate.
But with the backlash against the Huffman sentencing, her fellow Hollywood star Lori Loughlin — also facing charges in the college admissions fraud and bribery scandal — now fears that if she is found guilty of those crimes, a court will "make an example of her," by slamming her with a much tougher sentence than just two weeks, according to a new report by People Magazine.
As The Inquisitr reported, legal experts now believe that Loughlin's "defiant" refusal to take the prosecutor's initial offer of a deal to plead guilty will now prove disastrous for the 55-year-old Fuller House star.
Loughlin is facing more serious allegations than Huffman, accused of paying $500,000 in bribes and fraudulently creating a history of false athletic achievement for her two daughters, in order to have them designated recruits to the University of Southern California crew team.
According to a source close to Loughlin who spoke to People, the actress now "regrets" refusing the plea deal and realizes that even if she were to be offered a second plea deal, it would likely include significant prison time. But when she was offered the initial deal, Loughlin "didn't understand the entire nature of the charges against her," and somehow was not even sure she had actually broken the law, according to the People source.
"Her only chance of avoiding jail is to beat these charges. Lori is a smart woman. She understands that," the source told People. "She's scared and upset, but she's resolved to be strong and to fight this."