Sherri Papini, the California woman accused of faking her own kidnapping while she spent 22 days with an ex-boyfriend in Southern California, appeared in federal court via Zoom on Tuesday and was ordered to be released from Sacramento County Jail and comply with several restrictions.
Papini was immediately released on a $120,000 bond.
During the proceeding, both the prosecution and defense lawyers described the circumstances of Papini’s arrest on March 3.
After surveillance of her home, officials followed Papini when she took her children to a music lesson, prosecutor Veronica Alegría said. To separate Papini from her children and any potential firearm, Alegría said, a “ruse” was created — Papini was told there was an accident involving her car.
PREVIOUSLY:California woman captured headlines in 2016 with a sensational kidnapping tale. New charges say she made it up.
When she came outside the building, a waiting FBI agent told her she was under arrest.
“She screamed ‘no,’ and turned and ran,” Alegria said.
Papini was not able to get far before the agent arrested her, Alegría said. “But she did resist” and was running away from the officer, said Alegría.
As the agent was trying to arrest her, Papini also threw her phone about 20 feet, according to Alegría.
But Redding attorney Michael Borges, representing Papini, said she was aware that her children were behind her or nearby, witnessing the arrest.
“It’s certainly conceivable that Ms. Papini thought her children were in danger, turned to protect them, and her actions were misinterpreted by the agent,” Borges said. “I don’t think this is evidence of resisting arrest…. It appears to be evidence of being caught by surprise.”
As conditions of her release, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California told Papini she must surrender her passport and cannot possess or have any access to firearms or ammunition or be anywhere where firearms are present.
PREVIOUSLY:Sherri Papini, California woman accused of faking her 2016 kidnapping, ordered to remain in jail
As conditions of her release, the judge also told Papini she must provide a DNA sample and restrict her travel to the Eastern District of California if approved by the court in advance.
The judge also required Papini not to use alcohol or non-prescription narcotics and ordered her to participate in a program of medical or psychiatric treatment. She also must not “associate with or have contact with any witnesses in this case” outside of the presence of her attorney, with the exception of her family members, the judge said.
Papini’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 25. She did not speak during her detainment hearing on Tuesday.
She faces charges of making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and mail fraud. The maximum prison sentence is five years for the first charge and 20 years for the second. Each charge carries a maximum financial penalty of $250,000 and Peterson said she could also be required to pay restitution.
Contributing: David Benda
Follow Michele Chandler on Twitter: @MChandler_RS