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Old May 6, 2007, 12:18 PM
southwestsucks southwestsucks is offline
 
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Default Man faces 20 yrs in prison for kissing girlfriend on flight

Man faces prison for behavior on outbound LAX flight
Californian accused of "nuzzling" girlfriend and then arguing with a flight attendant about it is convicted.

By Doug Irving
STAFF WRITER

What began with a kiss and ended with sharp words on a flight out of Los Angeles International Airport could land a California man in prison for a very long time.

Carl Warren Persing of Lakewood was convicted this week of interfering with a flight attendant, a charge carrying a prison sentence of up to 20 years. The case stems from two midflight encounters: the first between Persing and his girlfriend in the seats of a Southwest Airlines jet, the next between him and the flight attendant who told them to behave.
Tony's on The Pier

Persing's attorneys have argued that what the flight attendant thought was "overt sexual activity" was really just a tired man laying his head in his girlfriend's lap. They agree that Persing and the flight attendant exchanged words but question whether it was enough to interfere with the flight.

A federal judge is scheduled to sentence Persing in August. His attorney, Bill Peregoy, said he's sure there will be an appeal.

"It was clearly bad behavior," Peregoy said. But, he added, "where does normal guy talk stop and felonious communications begin?"

Persing and his live-in girlfriend, Dawn Sewell, were flying from Los Angeles to Raleigh, N.C., last September. They first attracted the attention of other passengers during a brief stop in Phoenix, according to court documents.

Persing began "nuzzling or kissing" Sewell's neck and chest, then pressed his face into her lap, according to an FBI affidavit. Their behavior, it notes, made other passengers uncomfortable.

The flight attendant twice asked the couple to stop. The second time, Persing told him, "I'm going to give you one warning to get out of my face," the affidavit states.

The flight attendant later refused to serve the couple alcohol. The affidavit quotes Persing telling him, "There is going to be a serious confrontation between you and me."

FBI agents met the flight when it landed in North Carolina. A federal grand jury indicted both Persing and Sewell, concluding they had interfered with the flight attendant and "lessen(ed) the ability of the attendant to perform his duties."

The trial got under way this week in a federal courtroom in North Carolina. Peregoy said the judge quickly dismissed the charges against Sewell, but she was "scared to death" that she could still be prosecuted and refused to testify on her boyfriend's behalf.

Persing's attorneys argued that he wasn't feeling well during the flight and lay his head in his girlfriend's lap to sleep. The flight attendant, they said, kept waking him up, and he lost his patience.

Jurors took six hours to convict Persing of interfering with the flight attendant. His attorney, Peregoy, said the jury never considered a crucial question in its deliberations: whether Persing knew that his behavior would interfere with the flight attendant's ability to carry out his duties.

"Mr. Persing," he said, "was on trial for no other reason than (this): You will do what you're told by aircraft crew, and you will do it with a smile on your face, or (they) will prosecute."

Persing is scheduled to return to the Raleigh courtroom in early August for his sentencing hearing. Robin Zier, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, said she could not comment on how long a sentence prosecutors will seek.

Peregoy said he will ask for probation, but expects the judge may hand down "something pretty severe," such as a few years in prison.

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  #2  
Old Jul 21, 2007, 9:22 PM
ryskalchick ryskalchick is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Default confused

what did the flight crew do that was not what the FAA tells them?
  #3  
Old Feb 12, 2008, 5:13 PM
azgilbertboi azgilbertboi is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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It would be interesting to hear what other passengers on the flight have to say about what they saw. If you try to join the "Mile high Club", flights have landed and had the passengers thrown off the plane. There were a few incodences where flights landed into Portland International Airport in November of 2007 kicking passengers off planes for the same behavior.
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