Doctors' findings may ground JetBlue pilot case

(CBS News) Doctors have not yet given a conclusive medical opinion to investigators or to JetBlue as to what caused a pilot's bizarre behavior that forced him to be subdued and the plane diverted to Texas, CBS News has learned.

Captain Clayton Osbon, 49, was released from a hospital after undergoing psychiatric tests, and made his first appearance in court Monday morning in Amarillo, Texas, where he was formally presented with federal charges that he interfered with his own flight crew. Osbon was joined by his wife Connye and by fellow JetBlue employees.

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Prosecutors have requested that Osbon remain in jail because of the violent nature of his crime, adding "There are no conditions of release which will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community." A judge will decide on Thursday whether to release Osbon on bail.

If convicted, Osbon faces up to 20 years in prison.

On "CBS This Morning," senior correspondent John Miller said that Thursday's court appearance will likely be a more interesting day because "that's when the government has to put its cards on the table and say, 'This is why we think he should or shouldn't be released.' Right now they're saying, 'He shouldn't be released, here's why we think he's dangerous.'

"And the defense will likely have to counter with, 'Here's what we learned from the doctors at the hospital. This is why we think he's okay.'"

Osbon order on initial appearance (pdf)
Osbon motion for detention (pdf)

Miller said that under normal standards, Osbon is a great candidate for bail: "Is he likely to commit the same crime again? Is he a danger to others? And short of him getting into an airplane and having this problem continue I think that's unlikely.

"I think on Thursday we will probably get our first glimpse at what the doctors at that hospital determined went wrong with him," Miller said, adding, "I doubt, as I sit here right now projecting forward, given the medical issues here, that this will ever go to trial.

"If [the defense] can make a good enough case that, A, this was a medical problem; and that B, he didn't know right from wrong, I think these charges go away."

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Charlie Rose asked when we might expect to hear the flight cockpit recording of the incident. Miller replied, "It will be a long time for us. The government will consider that evidence. Now if there's a trial, they'll play that there. That will be what goes along with the co-pilot's testimony."

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