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JetBlue Flight Attendant Steven Slater Gets Bail, as Lawyer Gives Different Account of Confrontation with Passenger

Steven Slater (Personal Photo)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Apparently JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater is not a flight risk.

PICTURES: Steven Slater, JetBlue Flight Attendant

A New York City judge has set bail - $2,500 - for the flight attendant who reportedly cursed out a passenger on an airplane public-address system, grabbed some beer from the galley and exited on an emergency slide.

Slater is charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

It wasn't clear if Slater would go free on bail.

Police say Slater lost his temper after a rule-breaking passenger insulted him, then apparently struck the flight attendant with a bag she was removing from the overhead luggage compartment.

Upset, Slater supposedly asked for an apology, and instead, the passenger told Slater off.

Authorities say Slater then got on the plane's public address system and announced: "To the passenger who called me a (expletive expletive, expletive) you!"

Slater's defense attorney Howard Turman tells a very different story.

At the arraignment, in arguing for freeing Slater without bail, Turman said his client was under stress because his mother has lung cancer.

Afterward, he told reporters the dispute had begun much earlier, when the flight to New York's JFK International was still waiting to take off from Pittsburgh, and two female passengers got into an argument over space in the overhead bins.

That's when Slater was struck in the head, Turman said.

The dispute flared up again after the plane landed in New York when one of the women, who had been asked to gate-check her bag, was enraged that it wasn't immediately available.

"The woman was outraged and cursed him out a great deal," Turman said. "At some point, I think he just wanted to avoid conflict with her."

Upset, Slater supposedly asked for an apology, and instead, the passenger told Slater off.

Whatever prompted it, Slater then apparently had some choice - and mostly, unprintable - words for all concerned, via the plane's public address system.

Slater departed the plane (and possibly his aviation career) by opening an exit door, inflating the plane's evacuation slide, and sliding away, with beer in hand.

Slater's actions drew some sympathy from the public.

By late morning, more than 13,000 people had "liked" a Facebook page set up in his honor, and commenters were lauding the flight attendant's stand and calling for the arrest of the disobedient passenger.

  • Edecio Martinez

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