Miya Ponsetto, dubbed “Soho Karen,” pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges on Wednesday after allegedly assaulting a black teen at a Manhattan hotel, and the judge warned her not to miss her next in-person court date.
On Dec. 26, the 22-year-old was captured on camera accusing Keyon Harrold Jr., 15, the son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold, of stealing her phone and then attempting to assault him in the lobby of the Arlo Soho Hotel.
Ponsetto was charged with unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, and endangering the welfare of others by a grand jury.
During a video arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, Ponsetto’s lawyer Paul D’Emilia filed a plea of “not guilty” on her behalf.
Although the case isn’t eligible for bail, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Sarah Marquez requested that the judge prolong Ponsetto’s “highest level of supervised release.”
Ponsetto’s next court appearance has been set for Oct. 20, with Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward warning that Ponsetto will most likely have to appear in person in the future, which is a departure from the coronavirus pandemic court processes.
Ward said, “Although I did not set monetary bail if you are not in court on dates that I or other judges tell you to be — even though you did not post bail — you would face bail jumping charges.”
Ward questioned if Ponsetto understood, to which she replied, “Yes.”
Following the arraignment, D’Emilia denounced the indictment as “opportunistic” for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
“Instead of helping to foster a civil and enlightened resolution to an unfortunate incident between two young people, DA Vance chose a craven and opportunistic path in indicting, with felony hate crime charges, Ms. Miya Ponsetto,” D’Emilia said in the statement. “The charges alleged are a brazen and clear overreach of the intent of the statute. In sum, they are absurd and a perversion of our legal system.”
“As truly violent criminals maraud and run rampant through New York City, this DA exhibits zero interest in law enforcement and prosecution,” he continued. “Instead, he turns his prosecutorial fury on a distraught and panicked young woman stranded without her lifeline, her phone, thousands of miles from home.”
The district attorney’s office said it would “rely on what is stated in court” in response to D’Emilia’s devastating charges.
The Harrold family has also sued Ponsetto for the incident.