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Accused SFO-Bound Cockpit Intruder Pleads Not Guilty

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A courtroom sketch of SFO flight cockpit storming suspect Rageh al-Murisi (Joan Lynch/CBS)

A courtroom sketch of SFO flight cockpit storming suspect Rageh al-Murisi (Joan Lynch/CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — A 26-year-old Yemeni native accused of trying to barge into the cockpit of a San Francisco-bound flight has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of interfering with a flight crew.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley on Friday ordered Rageh Al-Murisi to remain in Alameda County jail without bail until his next scheduled hearing on June 23.

Al-Murisi could face 20 years in prison and $350,000 in fines and restitution payments for the May 8 incident aboard American Airlines Flight 1561 from Chicago.

Al-Murisi allegedly tried to open the cockpit door twice before he was subdued by crew members and several passengers. Authorities say he repeatedly yelled “Allahu Akbar”—“God is great” in Arabic.

Al-Murisi’s lawyer, Christopher Morales, says his client was in mental crisis and did not intend to crash the plane.

 

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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