William H. Macy: Why Felicity Huffman's Husband Wasn't Charged in College Admissions Scandal

On Tuesday, Felicity Huffman was one of 50 people indicted in a college admissions scandal in which parents paid to either have their children's test scores faked or have them designated as recruited athletes to gain admission to elite universities including Stanford, Yale and the University of Southern California.

According to the indictment, Huffman paid $15,000 to have her older daughter's SAT scores altered, with the indictment adding that she considered partaking in the scheme a second time for her younger daughter but ultimately decided not to.

Huffman's husband, William H. Macy, has not been charged, though the indictment references him as "her spouse" and appears to indicate that he was aware, to at least some degree, of what was going on. The indictment states a cooperating witness met with the couple in their home before a December 2017 SAT exam and fully explained the scheme.

"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 afterwards. CW-1 has advised investigators that Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan," the document reads.

In addition, the couple was recorded taking part in a phone conversation discussing their younger daughter's SAT testing. As Macy was only shown to take place in conversations involving his younger daughter, who was ultimately not part of the scam, that could be the reason he was not charged.

"If there's no active participation in the wrongdoing, the spouse will not be charged," veteran criminal attorney Murray Richman told Vulture. "Mere knowledge, even with the presence, does not constitute criminal conduct."

"Or, if there is insufficient evidence to necessarily link that spouse to criminal [activity], they will not be charged if it's mere allegations unsubstantiated with significant proof."

A former federal prosecutor added that the potential illegal activity around the couple's second daughter is likely too vague to bring charges against Macy.

"Just based on their conversation, there's not enough proof to show he had any knowledge it was illegal," he said. "Based only on the conversations, the second one, there is also an innocent explanation what he was saying and ultimately, they agree not to do it."

The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office has declined to say why Macy is not facing charges.

On Tuesday, Huffman was arrested at her home in California before being taken to a federal building, where she was processed by federal marshals. After an appearance in court, she posted her $250,000 bail, which was signed for by Macy. She was ordered to surrender her passport and was ordered to not have any contact with any of the other co-defendants in the case, though she is allowed to discuss the case with her husband. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 29 at the federal courthouse in Boston.


Along with Huffman, Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were indicted after they allegedly "agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC."

Photo Credit: Getty / Rich Fury