According to a Department of Justice press release, a lady from New York City was recently given a four-month prison term for interfering with flight attendants. In the past, Kelly Pichardo entered a guilty plea to the accusation, which is a Class C felony. According to the department's press release, Pichardo was also given 36 months of supervised release and was mandated to pay American Airlines $9,123 in reparation. According to court records, the sentence was given on August 29.
According to the press release, Pichardo and her co-"unruly defendant's and menacing behavior" on a February 2021 American Airlines flight from Dallas to Los Angeles caused the flight to be diverted to Phoenix so that the two could be removed off the aircraft. They were taking a first-class flight.
An counsel for Pichardo, Ana Laura Botello, declined to comment on the sentence. According to the department, Leeza S. Rodriguez, a co-defendant, will get her sentence in November "pursuant to her guilty plea."
According to US Attorney Gary Restaino, "there is a line between obnoxious behavior on an airplane and criminal activity, and the defendant certainly passed it." "Passengers in first class are not exempt from prosecution."
The violent conduct on the flight that was diverted to Phoenix "must cease," according to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a group that represents more than 20,000 American Airlines flight attendants.
According to Julie Hedrick, the union's national president, "APFA will continue working with other flight attendant and customer service agent unions, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Congress to ensure these offenders are prosecuted to the full extent of the law with appropriate fines and criminal penalties."
In this case, the Class C felony offense carries a $250,000 maximum fine and a 20-year maximum prison sentence. Nearly 6,000 allegations of disruptive passenger behavior were made to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2021, which set a record. 350 enforcement actions and more than 1,100 investigations were started.
The investigation into the event involving Pichardo was carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with help from the Phoenix Police Department. The Justice Department promised to give prosecuting crimes committed on commercial aircraft top priority at the end of 2021.
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