Miya Ponsetto falsely accusing a Black teen of stealing her iPhone and attacking him had nothing to do with racism ... at least according to her lawyer, who says she was having a panic attack.
Attorney Sharen H. Ghatan is representing Miya and her mother, Nicole Ponsetto, and Ghatan tells TMZ ... the NYC incident that led to Miya getting labeled "SoHo Karen" is not what everyone is making it out to be.
Her lawyer says she was in NYC visiting her father for Christmas, and like everyone else -- her whole life is on her phone and she needed it to navigate the city. He says she started feeling anxious when she realized she'd lost it.
@keyonharrold / Instagram
Ghatan claims Miya has a history of anxiety attacks and was experiencing one when she accused Keyon Harrold's 14-year-old son of stealing her phone and went after him. Ghatan isn't excusing her aggression -- she says that wasn't right, but insists it was anxiety-induced ... not racially charged.
All of that is, no doubt, info NYPD will want to hear. Detectives investigating the iPhone incident are flying to L.A. this week to speak with Miya ... but that could become an issue, because Miya's off the grid.
Ghatan says Miya left home and turned off her phone -- she's not responding to messages from her mother or her attorney, who say they're concerned about her well-being.
They say strangers have shown up at their L.A.-area home, followed them and made threats.
Assuming everything is alright, Ghatan says Miya and Nicole are open to speaking with the Harrold family to gain closure. As for NYPD ... Ghatan tells us detectives will need to talk to her first before getting to Miya.
As we first reported, Miya and her mother have other legal troubles -- they were both arrested in February 2020 for allegedly being drunk in publicat the Peninsula hotel in Bev Hills.
Plus, Miya's staring down a strong possibility of jail time after 2 DUI busts last year.