ATLANTA — A suburban Cleveland man who was accused of assaulting a flight attendant as he tried frantically to use an airplane bathroom has reached a deal with federal prosecutors, his attorney said Tuesday.
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Joao Correa, 43, will face no charges in the March 28 incident aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Honduras to Atlanta if he successfully completes a three-month pretrial diversion program, attorney Natasha Silas said.
The businessman says he ate something bad and desperately needed to use the bathroom about 30 minutes into the flight, but found the single coach aisle on the Boeing 737 blocked by a beverage cart. He said he asked if he could use the lavatory in business class, but was denied. Transportation Security Administration policy requires passengers on international flights to use the restroom in their seating class.
When the cart was not moved after a few minutes, Correa said he ran for the business class lavatory. He said the flight attendant put up her arm to block him, and he grabbed it to keep his balance. The pilot was called out to the cabin and allowed Correa to use the restroom.
Correa was arrested after the plane landed in Atlanta on a charge of interference with a flight crew and was held for two days in jail before a federal magistrate could hear his case.
"I hate he's had to suffer this level of indignity," Silas said.
She said Correa also had to acknowledge in the agreement reached this week that he did not handle the situation as well as he should have.
She praised federal prosecutors. "This is the right resolution. I'm glad Mr. Correa will be able to resume some level of normalcy in his life."
A call to the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta was not immediately returned.
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