New Jersey man pleads guilty in flight disturbance

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal prosecutors in New Orleans say a New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to interference with a flight crew – a charge arising from an October 2017 Southwest Airlines flight.

U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser’s Friday news release says 39-year-old Joel Michael Bane entered the plea on Thursday. Prosecutors say Bane was charged in connection with a flight from Chicago to New Orleans. They say Bane intimidated and threatened flight attendants, disobeyed the captain’s orders to return to his seat and, after landing, assaulted police officers who escorted him off the plane.

The maximum possible prison sentence is 20 years. However, a plea agreement filed Friday says prosecutors and the defense have agreed that probation would be appropriate. A judge will decide on Dec. 13.

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