NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Steven Slater, the former JetBlue flight attendant who threw one of the most infamous hissy fits ever when he allegedly cursed out a passenger before sliding down the plane's emergency exit chute with a beer, is exploring a possible plea deal to avoid jail time for his antics.
Slater will undergo a mental health evaluation that may qualify him for an alternative sentencing program, meaning he could evade jail time altogether in exchange for community service, according to CBS affiliate WCBS.
However, prosecutors aren't making any promises just yet, and the incident could still land Slater with a criminal record.
The once vocal Slater was tight-lipped during his 5-minute court appearance in Queens, N.Y. Tuesday on criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing charges stemming from last month's meltdown aboard a JetBlue Airways Corp. flight from Pittsburgh that had just landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
According to prosecutors, Slater was working Aug. 9 when a tiff occurred between the flight attendant and a passenger. After landing at JFK International Airport, Slater allegedly used the public address system and cursed at the passenger who he claimed had treated him disrespectfully, grabbed a beer and made a getaway via an emergency exit chute.
Defense attorney Daniel J. Horwitz has said the passenger's "lack of civility" prompted Slater's behavior.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said if Slater is admitted for alternative sentencing, he could undergo a treatment program that will last weeks, but he said sentencing is contingent upon the outcome of Slater's evaluation and jail time is still a possibility.
After almost 20 years in the airline industry Slater resigned from JetBlue last week. He had been with the company for three years, and is uncertain of what he will do next.
"We hope to continue those discussions to favorably resolve this matter for Mr. Slater. He'd like to move on with his life," said Horwitz.
Slater is due back in court Oct. 19.