That gesture was misinterpreted by a flight attendant, who humiliated and harassed the couple, said attorney Deb Newton, who represents Carl Persing.
Persing and Dawn Sewell, both of Lakewood, Calif.,of interfering with flight crew members, allegedly by disobeying a flight attendant's request that they stop their public displays of affection.
They were arrested on Sept. 15 when they arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles.
"The one witness I've talked to and the defendant dispute almost everything in the government's affidavit as to what happened on that airplane," Newton said.
She said Persing suffers from a chronic disease requiring medication that makes him drowsy, dizzy and irritable. She would not identify the disease to protect her client's privacy.
Newton said she will ask that the charges be dismissed.
Sewell's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.