Miya Ponsetto, the woman who falsely accused an African-American teenager of stealing her phone at a Manhattan hotel, has now pleaded guilty to one count after entering a deal with city prosecutors and will avoid jail time.
By pleading "guilty" to the top count against her of unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, she avoids jail time. The agreement implies that she has to abide by the terms of her probation in California stemming from a different case, remain in therapy, and avoid more trouble with the law.
In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg called her behavior "outrageous." "As a Black man, I have personally experienced racial profiling countless times in my life and I sympathize with the young man victimized in this incident," Bragg said, adding that this plea ensures "appropriate accountability" and that "this conduct does not reoccur".
If she fails to comply with the plea conditions, she faces up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.
Ponsetto, who lives in California, had to appear in person Monday at Manhattan Supreme Court. The 23-year-old woman showed up in court wearing an all-beige outfit and colorful nail polish.
The incident happened on December 26, 2020, at four-star Arlo Soho Hotel and was caught on camera by the victim’s father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold. In the video, Ponsetto is seen in the hotel lobby accusing Keyon Harrold Jr., then 14, of stealing her iPhone. Then, prosecutors say, she repeatedly attacked and dragged him to the floor, despite attempts of numerous witnesses to intervene. The woman’s iPhone was later found and returned by an Uber driver.
Prior to the incident in New York, Ponsetto has been charged in three other incidents in California during 2020 that include public intoxication in Los Angeles after an alleged altercation, and fighting with police officers during a DUI arrest.
The Harrolds have also hit the woman and the Arlo Hotel with a civil lawsuit. Ponsetto failed to attend an initial hearing in that case earlier this month.