Hate crime charges against 'Soho Karen' dropped after she accused black teen of cellphone theft in viral video


The infamous “Soho Karen,” who falsely accused a black teenager of stealing her cellphone at a Manhattan hotel, had a hate crime charge expunged from her record Monday after she agreed to a deal that kept her out of prison.

Miya Ponsetto, 26, pleaded guilty again to second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, for attacking then-15-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. after she accused him of snatching her iPhone in the infamous incident caught on camera at the Arlo Soho Hotel on December 26, 2020.

After completing therapy and staying out of trouble, Miya Ponsetto was allowed to plead guilty again to a lesser charge. Steven Hirsch
Ponsetto attacked Keyon Harrold Jr. at the Arlo Hotel after she falsely accused him of stealing her cellphone, prosecutors said.
Ben Crump Law

A shabbily dressed Ponsetto, wearing checkered Vans sneakers, baggy pants and an oversized winter coat – a drastic departure from her previous elegant courtroom attire – made no comment after the hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The Californian had negotiated a deal with Manhattan prosecutors in April 2022 when she pleaded guilty to wrongful imprisonment for a hate crime, a crime that would be expunged from her record if she completed therapy and avoided trouble with the law for two years.

Prosecutors confirmed to Judge Laura Ward that Ponsetto had fulfilled the terms of the deal Monday morning after receiving the documents from her defense attorney, Paul D'Emilia.

Miya Ponsetto previously told the Post: “I think I made a mistake.” AP

If she failed to comply with the agreement, she would have faced up to four years in prison.

Ponsetto was filmed by Harrold's father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, excitedly telling a manager in the hotel lobby that the teenager had stolen her phone. But Harrold Sr. said Ponsetto's phone was returned to her by an Uber driver just minutes after the incident.

She was sued by the Harrold family over the incident and the case remains pending.

The Californian faces up to four years in prison if she does not comply with the terms of the agreement. Steven Hirsch

Ponsetto spoke to “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King – who was wearing a black cap with the word “Daddy” on it – and downplayed the incident while claiming she couldn't be racist because she was a “woman of color.”

Ponsetto, who once told The Washington Post she wished she had apologized to the victim “differently,” left Monday's hearing carrying a black rolling suitcase and a Trader Joe's shopping bag as court officials held an elevator for her and her attorney.

Ponsetto pleaded guilty to second-degree aggravated harassment on Monday. Steven Hirsch

The judge issued a protective order and ordered that Ponsetto not have any contact with Harrold Jr. and his father.

“I am pleased that Ms. Ponsetto will emerge from this incident without charge or conviction,” her attorney said in a statement after the hearing.

“While I believe this case was intentionally misrepresented and mischaracterized, I am relieved that our office was able to successfully persuade the New York District Attorney to waive permanent damages for Miya. Ms. Ponsetto was unfairly publicly smeared for this mishap,” D'Emilia said.

“Miya was extremely relieved by this resolution and is looking forward to resuming her life in California with her family and loved ones.”

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