Felicity Huffman was released from federal prison in Northern California Friday morning before the end of her 14-day sentence for her role in a massive college admissions scandal. The Desperate Housewives star began her sentence at the Federal Correction Institution in Dublin, California, on Oct. 15, but was released early as is normal policy for inmates set to be released on weekends, a prison official told NBC News.
The Oscar-nominated actress will also have to pay a fine of $30,000 and performer 250 hours of community service under the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani last month.
FCI Dublin is a low-security, all-women's facility in Alameda County southeast of Oakland, with a minimum-security satellite camp attached. Huffman served her sentence in California to be near family.
Before her sentencing in a Boston courtroom on Sept. 13, Huffman made an emotional statement regretting her decision to partake in the illegal activity. "I was frightened, I was stupid and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done," she said.
In another statement shortly after the sentencing, she reiterated that sentiment, saying she accepted her sentence "without reservation" and apologized to students who worked hard to get into college, as well as their parents. "My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions," she said.
The sentence was more severe than what her lawyers had asked for, which was no hard time, but less than the prosecutors' request for a month in prison.
"The outrage is that in a system that is already so distorted by money and privilege ... you took that step of obtaining one more advantage to put your child ahead," Judge Talwani said during the sentencing.
Macy had submitted a letter of support to the judge describing how Huffman has been a wonderful mother who has also occasionally struggled funding the balance between her instincts and experts' recommendations.
In her own letter, Huffman wrote that "In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot. I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair."
Huffman's sum of $15,000 is relatively low compared to other bribes in the scheme, including Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli, who are accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as fake athletes. The two did not accept the plea deal offered to Huffman earlier this year, and this week were each charged with another count of bribery.