Singer John Legend says people should not ‘get mad’ about Felicity Huffman’s short jail sentence

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John Legend has said it is wrong to be angry at Felicity Huffman’s 14-day jail sentence compared to the longer sentences handed out to poor people of color, arguing ‘both should get less’ and prison ‘is not always the answer’.

The Grammy award winning singer, 40, who is the founder of FREEAMERICA, an organization that raises awareness for criminal justice reform, tweeted Saturday following outrage on social media at the actress’ sentence. 

Legend, who in March said the ‘system has been rigged for wealthy people for a long time’ regarding the college admissions scandal, wrote that ‘we should level down not up’ when it comes to time spent in prison. 

He said: ‘I get why everyone gets mad when rich person X gets a short sentence and poor person of color Y gets a long one. The answer isn’t for X to get more; it’s for both of them to get less (or even none!!!) We should level down not up.’

Disgraced Desperate Housewives star Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in a federal prison and also issued a public apology on Friday for paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT scores.

Since Huffman’s sentence was announced, social media users have critiqued the short jail time, saying it was ‘white’ and ‘rich’ privilege that led to the leniency. 

John Legend has tweeted it is wrong to be angry at Felicity Huffman's 14-day jail sentence compared to the longer sentences handed out to poor people of color, arguing 'both should get less' and prison 'is not always the answer'

John Legend has tweeted it is wrong to be angry at Felicity Huffman’s 14-day jail sentence compared to the longer sentences handed out to poor people of color, arguing ‘both should get less’ and prison ‘is not always the answer’

Felicity Huffman was seen smiling as she visited an apartment with her youngest daughter and her husband on Saturday afternoon. She was sentenced to two weeks in a federal prison and also issued a public apology on Friday for paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter's SAT scores

Felicity Huffman was seen smiling as she visited an apartment with her youngest daughter and her husband on Saturday afternoon. She was sentenced to two weeks in a federal prison and also issued a public apology on Friday for paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT scores

The singer tweeted Saturday following outrage on social media at the actress' sentence

The singer tweeted Saturday following outrage on social media at the actress’ sentence

But in a thread Legend said Americans ‘have become desensitized to how much we lock people up’.

He continued: ‘Prisons and jails are not the answer to every bad thing everyone does, but we’ve come to use them to address nearly every societal ill.’

Referencing the case of a black single mom who used a family member’s address to get her kids into better public schools and was given two concurrent five-year sentences, suspended to 10 days, Legend added: ‘It’s insane we locked a woman up for 5 years for sending her kid to the wrong school district. 

‘Literally everyone involved in that decision should be ashamed of themselves.’

The singer went on: ‘It’s unconscionable that we locked a woman up for voting when, unbeknownst to her, she was ineligible. Her sentence shouldn’t be fewer years. It should be ZERO.

‘And no one in our nation will benefit from the 14 days an actress will serve for cheating in college admissions. We don’t need to lock people up for any of this stuff.’  

Some online users vented over her short sentence, many comparing them to others who appeared to have received much harsher punishments

Some online users vented over her short sentence, many comparing them to others who appeared to have received much harsher punishments

Many users suggested her 'white privilege' meant that she always due for a shorter sentence

Many users suggested her ‘white privilege’ meant that she always due for a shorter sentence

The length of her sentence was fumed about by some Twitter users

The length of her sentence was fumed about by some Twitter users 

Family outing: It is not clear exactly what she was doing on Saturday with husband William H. Macy and youngest daughter Georgia Grace Macy, 17

Family outing: It is not clear exactly what she was doing on Saturday with husband William H. Macy and youngest daughter Georgia Grace Macy, 17

But other are have been less sympathetic when it comes to Huffman’s case. Political commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas post wrote: ‘A man spent 36 years in prison for stealing $50 from a bakery. Felicity Huffman got 14 days.’

She was referring to the case of Alvin Kennard who was 22 years old at the time he was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, due to it being his fourth offense.

Kennard, who is now 58 and has spent 36 years in prison, will be released in the next few days after a judge decided to look into his case again, ABC News reported. 

Another compared jail sentences for other crimes, where one person was recommended 30 days jail for stealing a loaf of bread and another was suggested one year for stealing cough syrup and toothpaste.

Journalist Raquel Cepeda wrote: ‘If only Black and Latinx Americans knew what it was like to serve 2 weeks for committing a felony.’

Others jested that she would benefit from the time in jail through being able to ‘sell the film rights… and get paid millions’ or hire a ghostwriter for her ‘tell-all book.’

‘I’m worried about her, quite frankly. A long stretch like that can really change a person,’ Lionel Mandrake wrote.

User Karina wrote: ‘She will serve 6 of which, like every Celebrity she will be Out on day 1 due to “Over Crowding”… Such a “SLAP ON THE HAND!”’ 

A smiling Huffman seemed not to have a care in the world when she was spotted with her husband, youngest daughter and the family dog during an outing in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon.

Huffman was seen grinning as she and her family unloaded furniture at an apartment building after returning from Boston for her sentencing in the college admissions scandal on Friday.

The disgraced Desperate Housewives star wore a straw hat and shades for the outing – the first time she has been seen since she was sentenced to 14 days in prison. She paired black skinny jeans with a grey long-sleeved shirt and a pair of Adidas sneakers.

New home? Huffman was holding a box which had 'Sophia apartment' scrawled on the side, suggesting they were moving the teen into her own home in the city

The words 'Sophia apartment' were written on the side of the box Huffman was carrying

New home? Huffman was holding a box which had ‘Sophia apartment’ scrawled on the side, suggesting they were moving their eldest daughter Sophia Grace Macy, 19, into her own home in the city or dropping off items at her property

Laid-back look: The disgraced Desperate Housewives star paired black skinny jeans with a grey long-sleeved shirt and a pair of Adidas sneakers

Laid-back look: The disgraced Desperate Housewives star paired black skinny jeans with a grey long-sleeved shirt and a pair of Adidas sneakers

It’s not clear what she was doing with husband William H. Macy and youngest daughter Georgia Grace Macy, 17, but Huffman was holding a box which had ‘Sophia apartment’ scrawled on the side.

This suggests they were moving their eldest daughter Sophia Grace Macy, 19, into her own home in the city or dropping off boxes with her.

Georgia looked casual in an 90s-inspired look – wearing acid-wash jeans, floral top and Sketchers sneakers. She accessorized with a small black backpack.

Mom-of-two Huffman was seen removing a folding side table from the trunk of a silver car parked outside, while her husband – clad in a white shirt, black pants and a Chicago Cubs cap – held onto their dog’s leash and a bag of Whole Foods peanuts. Sophia was nowhere to be seen. 

It looked like any other family outing, but just 24 hours earlier, Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in a federal prison. 

‘I accept the court’s decision today without reservation,’ she wrote in her statement. ‘I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge [Indira] Talwani [of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts] imposed. 

Family time: It looked like any other family outing, but just 24 hours earlier, the actor was sentenced to two weeks in a federal prison

Family time: It looked like any other family outing, but just 24 hours earlier, the actor was sentenced to two weeks in a federal prison

Trio: Georgia looked casual in an 90s-inspired look - wearing acid-wash jeans, floral top and Sketchers sneakers. She accessorized with a small black backpack

Trio: Georgia looked casual in an 90s-inspired look – wearing acid-wash jeans, floral top and Sketchers sneakers. She accessorized with a small black backpack

Casual outing: At one point, Huffman removed her shades and hung them over the top of her shirt while exiting the property

Casual outing: At one point, Huffman removed her shades and hung them over the top of her shirt while exiting the property

Casual outing: At one point, Huffman removed her shades and hung them over the top of her shirt while exiting the property

FELICITY HUFFMAN STATEMENT

I accept the court’s decision today without reservation. I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge Talwani imposed. 

I broke the law. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period. 

I would like to apologize again to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions. And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children. 

I have learned a lot over the last six months about my flaws as a person. My goal now is to serve the sentence that the court has given me. 

I look forward to doing my community service hours and making a positive impact on my community. I also plan to continue making contributions wherever I can well after those service hours are completed. I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I am needed. 

My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions. 

‘I broke the law. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period.

‘I would like to apologize again to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions. 

‘And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children.’

She added: ‘I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I am needed.

‘My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions.’ 

Meanwhile, as Huffman prepares to serve her prison sentence, fellow actor Lori Loughlin, who along with husband Mossimo Giannulli has also been charged in the college bribery scandal, is reported to be closely following the latest legal developments in the case.

Unlike Huffman and several other defendants who have made plea agreements with federal prosecutors, Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty.  

While Huffman received two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT scores, Loughlin is alleged to have paid $500,000 to fraudulently have her daughters admitted to the University of Southern California by claiming membership on the crew team. 

If convicted, Loughlin faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, though legal observers doubt that a judge would impose such a harsh sentence. 

In addition to her 14-day prison sentence, Huffman was also sentenced to a year of probation for paying a bribe in exchange for a proctor falsifying her daughter’s standardized aptitude test to get the teen a higher score.  

The actress, 56, addressed the court just moments before she learned her fate, breaking down in tears as she said: ‘I have inflicted more damage than I could’ve ever imagined.’ 

She then admitted her guilt once more and told the judge her actions were ‘frightened, stupid and so wrong,’ and added that she deserved whatever sentence was handed down. 

That tearful display came almost 30 minutes after the hearing kicked off with the federal prosecutor assigned to the case reprimanding the actions that resulted in Huffman’s indictment and ridiculing her excuses.

Right off the bat, the prosecution commented on Huffman’s claim that it was her ‘parental anxiety’ that led her to bribe an official in order to guarantee her daughter a better SAT test score.

‘With all due respect to the defendant, welcome to parenthood,’ said Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen.

‘There’s no instruction manual. Parenthood is exhausting and stressful, but that’s what every parent goes through.’ 

He later noted: ‘Parenthood does not make you a felon or make you cheat. It makes you serve as a positive role model.’   

Sorry but smiling: 'I accept the court¿s decision today without reservation,' Huffman wrote in her statement. 'I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge [Indira] Talwani [of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts] imposed'

Sorry but smiling: ‘I accept the court’s decision today without reservation,’ Huffman wrote in her statement. ‘I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge [Indira] Talwani [of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts] imposed’

Broke the law: Huffman received two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter's SAT scores

Broke the law: Huffman received two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT scores

Prosecutors reiterated their sentencing recommendation to the court on Friday by very plainly stating: ‘The defendant, Felicity Huffman, must go to jail for one month because the only meaningful and sufficient sanction for her criminal activity she engaged in is prison.’ 

Huffman was ordered to self-report to a facility determined by the Bureau of Prisons on October 25 by Judge Indira Talwani, who shared with the court how she arrived at her ruling after hearing from prosecutors, the defense and Huffman.   

‘The outrage in this case is a system that is already so distorted by money and privilege in the first place,’ noted Judge Indira Talwani. 

‘And that in a system in that context, that you took the step of having one more advantage to put your child ahead.’  

Huffman was later seen being comforted by her husband, and left the courthouse around 4pm with tears in her eyes.   

Huffman’s lawyers are working to have their client serve her two-week sentence in a minimum security women’s prison that is considered by locals to be a ‘Club Fed.’ 

Huffman’s attorneys on Friday requested that she be allowed to serve her sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California – about 30 southeast of Oakland.

Martin Murphy, a lawyer who represents the actor, made the request on Friday to Judge Indira Talwani.

Downcast: Huffman was seen with swollen eyes (above) as she left court on Friday after being sentenced

Downcast: Huffman was seen with swollen eyes (above) as she left court on Friday after being sentenced 

Criminal: Huffman is seen leaving court holding her husband's hand after she was sentenced to two weeks in prison

Criminal: Huffman is seen leaving court holding her husband’s hand after she was sentenced to two weeks in prison

Fateful day: Huffman is the first parent to be sentenced for their role in the scandal, and the US Attorney has asked that the court order Huffman to prison for a month. The pair are seen arriving at court on Friday

Fateful day: Huffman is the first parent to be sentenced for their role in the scandal, and the US Attorney has asked that the court order Huffman to prison for a month. The pair are seen arriving at court on Friday

Happier times: Georgia Grace Macy, Sophia Grace Macy, William H. Macy, and Felicity Huffman are pictured on January 6, 2019

Happier times: Georgia Grace Macy, Sophia Grace Macy, William H. Macy, and Felicity Huffman are pictured on January 6, 2019

Murphy asked Talwani to make the recommendation to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which will ultimately decide where Huffman serves her sentence. 

‘It’s the closest to Ms. Huffman’s residence [in Los Angeles],’ Murphy told the court on Friday.

FCI Dublin is one of four federal penitentiaries in the United States prison system that exclusively houses female inmates.

The prison population at Dublin is 1,235 inmates.  

Dublin has had a reputation as one of America’s cushiest prisons, according to Forbes. The prison is located close to the Bay Area, where the weather is pleasant year-round. 

Locals have even dubbed the facility ‘Chateau Dublin’.  

Federal documents show that while Huffman worked alone to iron out the details when the couple’s first daughter had her SAT changed by a proctor to improve her score, Macy was aware of the situation and the payment came from the couple’s joint account.

He in turn took a more active role in organizing the younger daughter’s fraudulent SAT, agreeing to the money and a set place and time much like his wife had done one year prior with their other child.

In that case however, the couple’s daughter achieved the results she had hoped for on her own and the mastermind behind the operation was informed that she would not be needing to submit a fraudulent score. 

Huffman paid a $15,000 ‘charitable contribution ‘to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,’ states the complaint.

Watching and waiting: Fellow actor Lori Loughlin, who along with husband Mossimo Giannulli has also been charged in the college bribery scandal, is reported to be closely following the latest legal developments in the case. Unlike Huffman and several other defendants who have made plea agreements with federal prosecutors, Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty. Loughlin is seen center while Giannulli is seen walking behind her at right in Boston on August 27

Watching and waiting: Fellow actor Lori Loughlin, who along with husband Mossimo Giannulli has also been charged in the college bribery scandal, is reported to be closely following the latest legal developments in the case. Unlike Huffman and several other defendants who have made plea agreements with federal prosecutors, Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty. Loughlin is seen center while Giannulli is seen walking behind her at right in Boston on August 27

Crumbling family? Loughlin is alleged to have paid $500,000 to fraudulently have her daughters admitted to the University of Southern California by claiming membership on the crew team. She is pictured with her daughters in 2017

Crumbling family? Loughlin is alleged to have paid $500,000 to fraudulently have her daughters admitted to the University of Southern California by claiming membership on the crew team. She is pictured with her daughters in 2017

‘Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so,’ according to the documents.

The charging documents state that Huffman had the site where her daughter took the SATs moved from her own high school to a test center West Hollywood.

That was to avoid a teacher who knew the girl, who had also applied for and received extended time to take the test, from being present.

The girl’s test was then administered by a proctor who had flown in from Tampa and told investigators that he ‘facilitated cheating, either by correcting the student’s answers after the test or by actively assisting the student during the exam.’

That proctor, Mark Ridell, has also been charged.

In this case, Huffman’s daughter scored a 1420, which was a 400 point improvement from her PSAT results just one year prior.

Soon after the proctor was paid $40,000 by Key Worldwide Foundation, the same organization that Huffman would later give a $15,000 donation to, according to the documents. 



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