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Sonoma influencer will have to wait to see if false reporting charges will be diverted from criminal court

Sonoma social media influencer Katie Sorensen, who is charged with falsely reporting that a couple attempted to kidnap her children at a Petaluma store in 2020, is now set to find out in September whether her case will be diverted from criminal court.

Sorensen’s attorney filed a motion for diversion April 6, with an initial hearing July 13, during which no decision on the diversion was reached. If Sorensen’s motion is granted, she would avoid jail time and have her case dismissed upon completion of a court-ordered diversion program.

Per California law, the court can order a defendant facing a misdemeanor charge to complete certain terms — be it classes or community service programs — and postpone a case for up to two years. If the defendant successfully completes the diversion program terms, their case can be dismissed and in some cases erased from their record.

Prosecutors with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office filed an objection to the diversion request, claiming diversion would not be “in the interest of justice,” and that it should only be granted in cases where those involved show remorse and are “maximally motivated to reform.”

“She failed to provide the Court with a voluntary acknowledgment of wrongdoing and continues to maintain she did not intend to falsify any information but merely relayed what she understood,” prosecutors argued in the May 3 objection.

But Sorensen’s attorney refuted that in another document, filed June 22, calling prosecutors’ argument “flawed” and that it “lacks legal support.”

“Ms. Sorensen submitted numerous letters with her opening brief which eloquently speak to her service to those around her. She is a person who is kind, caring and giving,” her attorney said in the document. “These letters illustrate that Ms. Sorensen is exactly the type of person who is suitable for diversion.”

Sorensen faces three misdemeanor charges and possible jail time for her December 2020 allegations that Petalumans Eddie and Sadie Martinez had tried to kidnap her then 4-year-old and 1-year-old children at a Michaels store in Petaluma. Following her allegations, Sorensen described her alleged encounter on Instagram, gaining millions of views and scoring her a booming amount of followers. But police review of surveillance footage later found discrepancies in Sorensen’s report.

Sorensen’s jury trial, which was originally set for May 19, was pushed to Aug. 25 after she obtained a new attorney, but that trial was again postponed due to her request for diversion. She is next expected to appear in court Sept. 9, according to court records.

The Sonoma County DA's Office and Sorensen's attorney did not provide further details.

Amelia Parreira is a staff writer for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at amelia.parreira@arguscourier.com or 707-521-5208.

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