College admissions bribery scandal: Why was William H Macy, Felicity Huffman's husband, not named in the FBI affidavit?
On March 12, actress Felicity Huffman was among dozens named in a huge college admissions and testing scam that was unveiled by federal prosecutors.
According to the criminal complaint that was filed, the 'Desperate Housewives' star reportedly paid a "purported charitable contribution of $15,000" to a nonprofit called Key Worldwide Foundation, which was actually in connection "to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter".
Huffman reportedly tried to use the same scam for her younger daughter, according to the court document, but ultimately decided not to. Vulture reported Huffman has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, for the part she played in the scam. In the aftermath of the Oscar-nominated actress' arrest, however, one question has emerged; why wasn't William H. Macy, Huffman's fellow Oscar-nominee husband's name in the complaint?
Based on the court documents, there is little doubt Macy was also part of the fraud. One cooperating witness, who has been referred to as CW-1, allegedly met with Huffman and Macy together at their home in Los Angeles sometime before the December 2017 SAT exam.
The complaint states that the witness "explained, in substance, how the college entrance exam scheme worked". The document goes on to allege: "According to CW-1, he advised Huffman and her spouse that he ‘controlled’ a testing center, and could arrange for a third party to purport to proctor their daughter’s SAT and secretly correct her answers afterward. CW-1 has advised investigators that Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan."
The document also claimed Macy was on a call with his wife and the cooperating witness on December 12, 2018, to discuss their younger daughter taking the SAT possibly over a two-day period. Macy allegedly asked the witness: "Do we want two days?" Then said later: "She’ll score higher. Just her base score will be higher if we did it over two days".
The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office did not say why the acclaimed actor isn't facing charges unlike his wife but several legal experts spoke to Vulture about why a spouse might be able to get away with being charged in this situation.
Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Law School professor and former prosecutor, explained: "There are a couple of different possibilities. One of the possibilities is that the husband is far less culpable. Maybe it’s possible that the government has far more evidence than is laid out here, and in this evidence, that Huffman played a far more significant role than her husband."
Roiphe also explained that when a conspirator isn't named in an official document, it could be proof that they had cooperated with the investigation or that the prosecutors are simply not ready to charge them yet. Macy was seen on the afternoon of March 12 in court along with his lawyer.
A former federal prosecutor also told the publication that the alleged misconduct that involved the couple's second daughter might have been too vague to bring charges against Macy. He said: "Just based on their conversation, there’s not enough proof to show he had any knowledge it was illegal. Based only on the conversations, the second one, there is also an innocent explanation of what he was saying and ultimately, they agree not to do it."
Macy, in an interview with Parade in January, said his daughter's college admissions process was "so stressful". He added: "I am voting that once she gets accepted, she maybe takes a year off."