SAN FRANCISCO – A disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney charged with a bizarre kidnapping that police initially dismissed as a hoax planned to plead guilty Thursday to snatching the young woman from her California home last year, federal prosecutors said.
Matthew Muller was set to enter the new plea, said Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento, but she did not provide further details. No documents were immediately available laying out the terms of the change.
Muller previously pleaded not guilty to abducting Denise Huskins in March 2015. Her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, said kidnappers broke into the couple's Vallejo home, took Huskins and demanded $8,500 as a ransom — a figure that police have said they found small for what would have been an elaborate kidnapping.
Huskins turned up safe two days later in her hometown of Huntington Beach, where she says she was dropped off. After she reappeared, Vallejo police called the kidnapping a hoax.
Huskins sued, accusing police of wrongly likening the case to the movie "Gone Girl" and damaging the reputations of her and her boyfriend.
Attorneys for police have said investigators doubted Quinn's account of the abduction and grew more skeptical when Huskins refused to reunite with her family soon after she reappeared.
Muller was later charged. A call to his attorney, Thomas Johnson, was not immediately returned.
Johnson has said Muller has bipolar disorder. In a court filing this week, prosecutors asked a judge to inquire during Thursday's hearing about Muller's mental condition and medications to make sure he understands the proceedings and his rights.
Muller was admitted to practice law in California in 2011, and his state bar profile says he attended Harvard Law School.
He lost his law license last year over allegations that he took a $1,250 advance from a client then failed to file a green card application for the person's son.