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Defendant In Kidnapping First Deemed Hoax Pleads Not Guilty

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Members of the media gather at a location where a missing woman was found safe in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

(AP) - A disbarred attorney charged with kidnapping in a California case that police initially dismissed as a hoax has pleaded not guilty.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Matthew Muller entered his not guilty plea Monday in federal court in Sacramento.

The 38-year-old Muller is charged in the March kidnapping of Denise Huskins.

Muller, a Harvard Law School graduate, is accused of kidnapping Huskins from her Vallejo home. After Huskins reappeared two days later, Vallejo police said at a news conference the kidnapping was a hoax. They have since apologized.

Huskins has filed a claim against the city seeking unspecified monetary damages.