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Sherri Papini arraigned in court on kidnapping hoax charges

California “super mom” Sherri Papini, who was the mastermind of an elaborate kidnapping scheme, was emotional as she appeared in front of a judge for an arraignment on charges that she lied to federal officials.

Papini, who was dressed in a gray blazer and slacks with her blonde hair pulled into a tight bun, appeared before Chief Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman on Wednesday. 

The 39-year-old mother-of-two stood next to her defense attorney, William Portanova, and agreed to waive reading of the indictment and was arraigned on the charges, court officials told The Post.

Wednesday’s brief 10-minute hearing was a formality before Papini appears via Zoom on Monday for her change of plea hearing, court officials said. 

Papini, who has been out on $120,000 bond since her arrest on March 3, plans to plead guilty to one count of making false statements and one count of mail fraud.  She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11. 

Before entering the Sacramento federal court with his client, Portanova told reporters, “This is a long process … and we are trying to do the right thing.”

Sherri Papini leaves the federal courthouse after her arraignment in Sacramento, Calif. on Apr. 13, 2022.
AP/Rich Pedroncelli
Sherri Papini
Papini shared a statement on Tuesday apologizing for her actions.
AP/Rich Pedroncelli
Sherri Papini
The mother of two faked her own kidnapping in 2016, saying two Hispanic women held her at gunpoint.
AP/Andrew Seng

When asked what Papini’s motive was to commit the crime, the Sacramento defense attorney said, “We are not going to talk about that today.”

On Tuesday, Papini released a statement through her attorney and said, “I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I’ve caused my family, my friends, all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me.”

Prosecutors said Papini, 39, of Redding, lied when she told investigators that she was kidnapped at gunpoint by two Hispanic women while she was jogging near her home.

Papini reappeared on Thanksgiving Day in 2016 and provided a description of her fake kidnappers to an FBI sketch artist, prosecutors said.

According to court records, Papini was instead with her ex-boyfriend, James Reyes, at his apartment in Costa Mesa, Calif.

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