Sherri Papini, the California “super mom” accused of faking her own kidnapping, told a judge that she can’t stomach jail food during her first court appearance on Friday.
Papini, who is locked up at the Sacramento County Jail, had a virtual hearing on Zoom before US Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson, who ordered that she remain in custody at least until her next court date Tuesday.
Papini’s attorney, Michael Borges, had asked that his client be released as she awaits a grand jury indictment. He told the judge that Papini has only had an apple to eat since cops arrested her on Thursday.
“She has allergies that affect her ability to eat the food that’s been provided to her in Sacramento County Jail,” Borges said.
The lawyer said Papini told jail authorities about her allergies, “but nevertheless she had not been provided with any food other than a part of an apple … to eat.”
“She has not been able to eat since she’s been detained yesterday morning,” Borges said.
The judge told Borges that Papini’s dietary concerns would be noted.
Papini, 39, is facing charges of making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and mail fraud in connection to the alleged scheme.
The wife and mother of two triggered a nationwide alert after she apparently vanished near her Redding, Calif. home. on Nov. 2, 2016.
She reappeared about 150 miles from her home on Thanksgiving Day, and told authorities that two Hispanic women had kidnapped her at gunpoint and bound her wrists and ankles with a chain.
Papini claimed to law enforcement officials that her kidnappers played mariachi music in the car and placed a pillowcase over her head, according to the arrest warrant.
Federal prosecutors argued during Papini’s hearing Friday that she was a flight risk. The judge agreed and denied her request to be released on her own recognizance.
“There are no conditions that could reasonably assure the court that she would appear as requested … based on the allegations in the complaint, the pretrial services report, and the recommendation of pretrial services,” Assistant US Attorney Veronica Alegría said during the hearing.
If convicted, Papini could face a maximum of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each charge.
She will be back in front of the judge on March 8 for a detention hearing. Prosecutors said a grand jury indictment will likely be handed down later this month.
Papini’s family has fired back against law enforcement. In a statement released through Chris Thomas, president of the Utah-based PR firm Intrepid, relatives said they were appalled by the way authorities apprehended the Papini.
“We love Sherri and are appalled by the way in which law enforcement ambushed her this afternoon in a dramatic and unnecessary manner in front of her children,” the Papini family said.
“If requested, Sherri would have fully complied and come to the police station, as she has done multiple times before, where this could have been handled in a more appropriate way. Sherri and Keith have cooperated with law enforcement’s requests despite repeated attempts to unnecessarily pit them against each other, empty threats to publicly embarrass them and other conduct that was less than professional. We are confused by several aspects of the charges and hope to get clarification in the coming days.”
US Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said Papini not only continued to lie to federal agents, she also received 35 payments totaling over $30,000 through the state’s victim assistance fund, which included therapy visits.
“When a young mother went missing in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern,” Talbert said. “Ultimately, the investigation revealed that there was no kidnapping and that time and resources that could have been used to investigate actual crime, protect the community, and provide resources to victims were wasted based on the defendant’s conduct.”