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Another lawyer joins Felicity Huffman’s defense team in college admissions scandal

Felicity Huffman in 2017.
Felicity Huffman in 2017.(Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press/File)

The cast just grew.

Hollywood star Felicity Huffman has added another lawyer as she faces charges in federal court in Boston stemming from the nationwide college admissions cheating scandal that exploded into the headlines earlier this month.

On Wednesday, attorney Julia G. Amrhein of Foley Hoag LLP filed her appearance in US District Court in Boston on behalf of Huffman, 56.

The screen star is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for allegedly paying to facilitate cheating on her daughter’s SATs, court records show.

Huffman, best known for career-defining roles in the TV series “Desperate Housewives” and the film “Transamerica,” is slated to make her highly anticipated initial court appearance in Boston on April 3.

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Amrhein’s practice “focuses primarily on complex commercial litigation and international litigation,” her biography says on the Foley Hoag website. “In this capacity, Julia principally represents foreign States and State-controlled entities before U.S. federal courts.”

In addition, the bio says, Amrhein “has experience in bankruptcy litigation, shareholder disputes, and representing policyholders in insurance recovery litigation. Julia is actively involved in the firm’s pro bono program, having represented victims of domestic violence; families seeking asylum; individual debtors filing for bankruptcy; and artists through her work with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.”

The Boston College Law School alum was admitted to the state bar in 2012.

On the Huffman case, she’ll be working with Martin F. Murphy, a Foley Hoag partner and one of the most sought-after attorneys in Boston.

Murphy, a former first assistant district attorney in Middlesex County, has in private practice “represented clients in health care and securities fraud investigations, defended white collar prosecutions, capital murder cases, and many other criminal investigations,” his Foley bio says. “He has also handled a remarkably diverse set of civil cases, including business and securities disputes, employment discrimination cases, non-compete and trade secret matters, legal and medical malpractice claims, False Claims Act cases and wrongful death matters, among many others.”

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Murphy, Harvard Law class of 1983, also previously served as a special prosecutor in the 2009 death of Joshua K. Messier at Bridgewater State Hospital, cochairman of a state committee on granting prisoners access to DNA evidence, and outside investigator of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s and ’80s at St. George’s School, an elite prep school in Middletown, R.I.

Huffman is one of 50 people charged in the sweeping college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents allegedly cut fat checks to have their children falsely certified as athletic recruits at fancy colleges and universities, or to facilitate cheating on the SAT and ACT exams.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.