According to CBS News, on Monday (April 11), she pleaded guilty to a felony hate crime. Under her plea deal, she avoids jail time and can enter a new plea to a lesser, misdemeanor charge. However, Ponsetto will be required to complete her probation for a separate case of driving while intoxicated in California. Additionally, she must continue counseling and have no encounters with the criminal justice system for the next two years.
"Ms. Ponsetto displayed outrageous behavior. 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,” said New York County District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., in a statement, “This plea ensures appropriate accountability for Ms. Ponsetto by addressing underlying causes for her behavior and ensuring this conduct does not reoccur."
On December 26, 2020, Ponsetto falsely claimed Keyon Harrold Jr., who was 14 at the time and the son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold, stole her phone in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in New York’s SoHo district. The interaction was recorded on the teen’s father’s phone as well as surveillance video. Both show the woman physically attacking the younger Harrold in an attempt to retrieve her phone. Eventually, her actual phone was returned to her after an Uber driver found it in the back of their vehicle.
The Harold family has filed a civil lawsuit, which also includes hotel manager Chad Nathan as a defendant, that alleges Ponsetto and Nathan engaged in racial profiling and accuses the hotel of negligence. The lawsuit is pending.
"Ms. Ponsetto looks forward to her eventual final plea to the Harassment charge - a plea that we feel more realistically reflects her actions that night at the Arlo Hotel,” said Ponsetto's lawyer, Paul D'Emilia in a statement. “It is Ms. Ponsetto's wish that Keyon Harrold accepts her regrets and apology for her behavior that evening, and that all involved can move forward with added insight and compassion."