A woman accused of framing her husband's ex-fiancee in a "rape fantasy" plot on Craigslist pleaded not guilty on Friday to more than two dozen charges.
Angela Diaz, 31, faces 10 felony charges that include kidnapping, false imprisonment, perjury and forgery, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. She is also charged with 22 misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting a crime.
Diaz was extradited Thursday night from Arizona to Orange County. She is scheduled to appear in Orange County Superior Court on Jan. 24 for a hearing.
Diaz was arrested on Jan. 6 in Phoenix, where she lives, in connection with creating a Craigslist ad and making bogus claims against Michelle Hadley.
The hearing comes days after the district attorney's office announced that it had exonerated Hadley and dropped charges against her.
Hadley was arrested twice — once in June 2016 and again in July — in connection with Diaz's claims. Hadley faced 10 felony charges and the possibility of life in prison.
Diaz told Anaheim police that a man had tried to rape her in her garage in June. The following month, she said a 17-year-old boy appeared in her courtyard in response to the Craigslist ad.
Diaz went to investigators and accused Hadley of impersonating Diaz in the ad and inviting men to visit her condo to participate in her "rape fantasy," Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said at a news conference on Monday.
Diaz alleged that Hadley had sent her emails threatening to have her raped, he said. The emails contained links to photographs of aborted fetuses, dead bodies and decapitated bodies, Rackauckas said.
At the time, police believed Diaz's frightening ordeal was the result of the Craigslist ad, and the electronic trail, they said, had led to Hadley. They had also stopped several men near Diaz's condo, who admitted responding to the Craigslist ad.
But in September, investigators discovered that the Craigslist ad and the harassing emails had been sent from Diaz's condo and her father's home, Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Zimmer said.
Prosecutors discovered Diaz had sent the emails to herself using specialized software to make it appear that Hadley had written and sent them.
At that point, Hadley had been jailed for 88 days. In October, she was released on her own recognizance following the new evidence showing her innocence.
"It's often said 'true life is stranger than fiction.' The facts of this case make that statement spot on," Rackauckas said. "When a person who has committed a crime gets arrested and charged, that's a bad day. But when someone who's innocent and gets arrested and charged with a crime, that's not just a bad day — it's a nightmare."
According to the district attorney, Hadley had dated Diaz's husband for two years after meeting online, he said. But they broke up and she moved out of their Anaheim condominium. The pair had argued in text messages and email over their relationship and costs associated with the condo. They finally stopped talking in fall 2015.
The following year, Diaz met him on dating website. She married the U.S. marshal in February 2016 and moved into the condo.
In the following months, prosecutors said Diaz faked being pregnant with twins and faked having cervical cancer. Prosecutors say she also forged a check and doctors notes, posed as an attorney and impersonated two of her husband's ex-girlfriends over email.
According to prosecutors, there was no evidence that Diaz's husband was involved in the case.
After Hadley was cleared of the charges, she told reporters outside the courthouse on Monday afternoon that the traumatic experience "has been such a nightmare for me."
For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.
2:10 p.m.: This article was updated with Angela Diaz pleading not guilty.