There’s already a movie on the college admissions scandal

September 7, 2019 • 2:00 pm

Yes, theres a movie, “ripped from the headlines,” and out before even the most famous defendant Lori Laughlin, has been tried, much less sentenced (Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty and will soon be sentenced), while Laughlin pleaded not guilty and is yet to go to trial.)

Were I Laughlin’s lawyer, I’d probably try to get her off based on the movie’s possible prejudicing the jurors. Anyway, here’s the trailer.

As I said, Huffman will be sentenced, and the prosecution has asked for a month’s jail time, a year’s probation, and a $20,000 fine. Her own lawyers want no jail time, 250 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine. If she goes to jail, it’s a certainty that Loughlin will serve far more time because of her not guilty plea and the more serious charges, which include money laundering.

I’m not sure why, but I feel strongly that both women need to serve jail time. It’s not a case of my enjoying the mighty brought low, I think, but because it involves deceiving institutions dear to my heart: universities. For deterrence of would-be scammers, I believe there needs to be an example made.

As lagniappe, here’s a Saturday Night Live take on the scandal, with Sandra Oh:

22 thoughts on “There’s already a movie on the college admissions scandal

  1. Huffman at least admits her guilt, but she does need to spend some time in jail as a reminder that we are all equal under the law. This idea needs particular reinforcement in the age of Trump. The wealthy are often above the law, or at least avoid equal punishment. We need counter examples as a deterrent.

  2. “… she does need to spend some time in jail …”

    One could argue that Americans are way too keen on jailing people (750 per 100,000, cf a mean of 100 in Europe; the US has 4.4% of the world’s population but 22% of the world’s prisoners, and spends $100 billion a year on jails).

    Maybe only violent criminals who pose a violent threat should actually be in jail, and we should scheme up more imaginative punishments for everyone else.

    Maybe, instead of putting someone in jail for X years, double or triple their tax rate for N years?

    1. I’m with you there. Americans seem to love putting people in jail for obscene amounts of time (when they’re not judicially-killing them).

      The defendants here are non-violent, they didn’t steal money from anybody, their crime was excessive ambition for their kids. Jail is ridiculous.

      I have no love for privilege, I also have no love of victimising individuals to ‘set an example’ or ‘send a message’.


      1. I was in favour (last time we discussed this matter) of community service – in particular tutoring and academic support – to the communities disadvantaged by the crime. I think I still am. (This doesn’t rule out a fine/wage garnish also.)

  3. A brand new book just out that might be of interest to some on this whole subject:

    The Meritocracy Trap, How America’s Foundational Myths Feed Inequality, Dismantals The Middle Class & Devours the Elit by Daniel Markovits

  4. The Lifetime movie seems like it has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Or is that just Lifetime aiming a bit low?

    I don’t think the movie prejudicing the jurors would be a valid defense for Lori Laughlin. Might be valid criteria for dismissing jurors during voir dire though. Lawyers?

    Sorry but Saturday Night Live is just not funny anymore.

    1. Yeah SNL beat that dead horse to death – it’s worth a 30-second skit tops.

      The Lifetime channel is being in serious mode, but that’s not saying much for an excruciating cable-style channel that specialises in reruns of syndicated content & who features the following content below the banner on their UK landing page: The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, Surviving R, Kelly, Dance Moms, Preachers’ Daughters. Below that it get’s even more trivial.

      Going by the trailer this looks like an overcooked, over emoted, straight-to-TV, pot boiler for bored women. Lifetime prides itself on aiming at women, or their idea of what women want: lotsa fashion content & reality shows with no politics, tech, etc. Anything cheap to make & broadcast.

      1. Then we agree. I guess I was wondering if this particular Lifetime production is bad enough to be consumed as humor. Probably not.

        When I scan the LA Times’ list of movies to be shown on TV for the day, I know I can skip even reading the description for those on Lifetime or Hallmark channels.

        1. No, it isn’t going to be unintentionally funny unless there’s something like a brainless Bobby Ewing in-the-shower plot twist. 🙂

          This isn’t even going to be addressing the best parts of this scandal which hasn’t played out yet: How the principle scammers rolled over on their customers in a plea deal [I’m looking forward to seeing what their wrist slap looks like] & the effect on those students who didn’t know their parents/guardians had moved the entry goal posts for them.

          It’s a bit weird that such content can be broadcast before all the trials/judgements are done – it would be illegal to do this most everywhere else I can think of in the western first world.

        1. You’re missing nothing Merilee, even your Sandra Oh in that video isn’t sparkling. Forced humour.

          Although I can watch that video & buy ancient seasons up to 2010/11 on YouTube for ÂŁ9.99, I can’t get recent SNL [seasons 44/45] live or even late – it isn’t broadcast at all in the UK. It was tried years back, but the episodes were six weeks late, defeating the point of the show & of course it bombed with the “LIVE” aspect out of play.

          I know a lot of comedy talent started at SNL, but I haven’t seen anything that tickles my UK funny bone. I loved Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In though – the BBC aired it a year late [in 1969 when I was 14] & it was wonderful, but it had the advantage of not using time sensitive material. It was groovy stuff even without knowing what/where “down town Burbank” is!

          1. Don’t forget the Beautiful in downtown Burbank🤓
            Loved SNL in the late 70s, with Gilda and Chevy, and Garrett Morris and
            Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd and Belushi’s Samurai shtick. Not to forget Czechoslovakian playboys and also the Landshark. The Monterey Aquarium has/had a continuous loop of the Landshark playing near the real shark tanks. Haven’t found it particularly funny the few times I’ve checked it out at all recently.

            1. Was ’70s SNL so politics/news-driven as current SNL? I loved the Festrunk Bros., – that somehow must have got to Brit TV – can’t remember when I saw them, but I was much younger & even more handsome than now.

              1. Even more handsome? Howis that possible🤓
                I don’t rememberit being as political back in the late 70s, except for Chevy Chase playing Gerald Ford and tripping all the time. I understand that Ford loved it.

  5. Were I Laughlin’s lawyer, I’d probably try to get her off based on the movie’s possible prejudicing the jurors.

    That’s a motion you’re like to lose, counselor. Though the judge might well grant you some extra questioning of potential jurors during voir dire regarding exposure to pretrial publicity, maybe even individually, outside the presence of the others, so as not to have the entire venire spoiled by an untoward answer.

    And if you can’t rack up twelve citizens honest and true due to excessive publicity in the initial attempt, the court might entertain a change of venue of Aunt Becky’s trial to another federal district where the publicity hasn’t been as intense.

    That’s pretty much been the practice ever since Dr. Sam Shepard’s case.

  6. Frankly, the extent of America’s obsession with celebrities boggles my mind. The list of people indicted include CEOs and senior executives in major finance, law and real estate firms and all the media can think of are two B-list actresses.

    – RM

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