As part of her sentencing memorandum that was filed Friday, the "Desperate Housewives" star wrote a letter to the judge explaining why she got involved in the admissions scam as well as her regret and "utter shame" for participating in the scheme.
"Please, let me be very clear, I know there is no justification for what I have done," Huffman wrote, according to People. "Yes, there is a bigger picture, but ultimately it doesn't matter because I could have said 'No' to cheating on the SAT scores," Huffman wrote. "I unequivocally take complete responsibility for my actions and will respectfully accept whatever punishment the court deems appropriate."
"I keep asking myself, why did I do this?" she added. "Why did I say yes to a scheme of breaking the law and compromising my integrity? What interior forces drove me to do it? How could I abandon my own moral compass and common sense?"
"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," Huffman later added. "I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family."
Huffman, who shares daughter Sophia, 19, and Georgia, 17, with husband William H. Macy, said she looked for advice from experts and doctors after Sophia was "diagnosed with learning disabilities," which Georgia, too, struggled with.
This advice, Huffman said, began to "outweigh" her "maternal instincts" and eventually her "moral compass."
However, she ultimately met Rick Singer after receiving a recommendation.
"I worked with Mr. Singer legitimately for a year," Huffman wrote. "I also engaged him for my second daughter, Georgia, who also has serious learning disabilities, so she could benefit from his expertise. I was relieved that he seemed so good at his job, was so confident and knowledgeable. Sophia was passionate about majoring in theater, but over time, Mr. Singer told me that her test scores were too low, and if her math SAT scores didn't rise dramatically, none of the colleges she was interested in would even consider her auditions."
Huffman explained that her goal wasn't getting her daughter into elite universities, but rather that she hoped her daughter's math scores wouldn't be the "deciding factor" as to whether she was accepted.
"I honestly didn't and don't care about my daughter going to a prestigious college," she wrote. "I just wanted to give her a shot at being considered for a program where her acting talent would be the deciding factor. This sounds hollow now, but, in my mind, I knew that her success or failure in theater or film wouldn't depend on her math skills. I didn't want my daughter to be prevented from getting a shot at auditioning and doing what she loves because she can't do math."
The "Georgia Rule" star explained how Singer suggested he could have a proctor "bump up" Sophia's SAT's scores. Huffman expressed that she believed she "would be a bad mother" if she didn't agree to Singer's scheme.
"As warped as this sounds now, I honestly began to feel that maybe I would be a bad mother if I didn't do what Mr. Singer was suggesting," she wrote.
"To my utter shame, I finally agreed to cheating on Sophia's SAT scores, and also considered doing the same thing for Georgia," she continued.
Huffman explained that she regretted her decision.
"The decision haunted me terribly; I knew it was not right," she wrote. "I finally came to my senses and told Mr. Singer to stop the process for Georgia."
The "Magnolia" actress expressed her insecurities about being a mother worsened when she learned of her daughter's disabilities.
"From the moment my children were born I was worried that they got me as a mother," Huffman said. "I so desperately wanted to do right and was so deathly afraid of doing it wrong. My own fears and lack of confidence, combined with a daughter who has learning disabilities often made me insecure and feel highly anxious from the beginning."
"When my daughter looked at me and asked with tears streaming down her face, 'Why didn't you believe in me? Why didn't you think I could do it on my own?' I had no adequate answer for her," she added. "I could only say, 'I am sorry.'"
Huffman said she feels "deep and abiding shame" for partaking in the scandal.
"Shame and regret that I will carry for the rest of my life," she expressed. "It is right that I should carry this burden and use it as fuel for change in my own life and hopefully, it will be a cautionary tale for my daughters and the community."
Huffman, who pleaded guilty back in May, will likely serve a short sentence and face a small fine for her involvement in the college admissions scandal.
The U.S. Attorney has recommended, in documents filed Friday, the actress be sentenced to one month in federal prison, a 12 month probationary period, and be fined $20,000. The judge presiding over the case, however, will have the final say in sentencing.
Initially, prosecutors recommended Huffman serve 4-10 months in prison after she pled guilty to mail fraud and honest services fraud in May.
Huffman admitted paying Singer $15,000 to correct her daughter's SAT scores, one of his "side door" options for sneaking offspring of affluent parents into colleges.