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article imageJetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater accepts plea deal

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 19, 2010 in Crime
New York - Steven Slater, the former JetBlue flight attendant who became famous after he expressed his frustrations and then exited a plane via an emergency chute, accepted a plea deal in which he will attend counselling and pay a fine – but will avoid jail.
During an October 19 appearance in Queens Mental Health Courty, Slater entered guilty pleas to two charges of attempted criminal mischief, one a felony and one a misdemeanor.
He admitted that he grabbed a beer and left a Jet Blue plane though an emergency exit on August 9, after an encounter with an uncooperative passenger.
He became a hero to many people after that, with Facebook groups formed, and T-shirts printed, to express support.
Under the plea deal, Slater will take part in regular mental health counselling and substance abuse treatment for a next year, as well as attend regular appointments with the court.
If he completes the program to the satisfaction of Judge Marcia P. Hirsch, the felony charge will be dropped, and he will only have to complete one year’s probation.
He is also required to pay JetBlue $10,000 for replacement of the emergency chute.
“While many had depicted the defendant as a somewhat folk hero,” Mr. Brown said, “I had expressed the view that the defendant’s actions were not a laughing matter,” The New York Times quoted Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown as saying.
“My own view of the situation was that Mr. Slater was humiliated by what he perceived as degrading working conditions,” Mr. Brown said, “and he had a level of rage at that time that was exacerbated perhaps by alcohol consumption and maybe by other contributing stress factors.”
He said he believes Slater has recognized the seriousness of his actions.
“At the end of the day, I’m a grown-up and I must take responsibility for my actions,” Slater said after leaving the court.
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