New York

NY Woman Accused of Assaulting Passengers on Flight, Forcing it to Land, Pleads Not Guilty

The women got into an argument with another passenger over their alleged use of racial slurs, and one of the women spit at the man before the other hit him to get him to stop filming the alleged incident

American Airlines plane
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

One of two New York women accused of assaulting passengers on a flight, causing it to be diverted to Phoenix, has pleaded not guilty to charges.

Kelly Pichardo entered her plea by telephone in federal court on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old and 30-year-old Leeza Rodriguez, both of the Bronx, were indicted by a grand jury for interfering with a flight crew member and for assault.

According to the indictment, both women were on an American Airlines flight on Feb. 24 from Dallas to Los Angeles.

A male passenger got into an argument with them over their alleged use of racial slurs. Witnesses say Pichardo spit at the man. He then began recording the encounter with his cellphone and Rodriguez allegedly hit his hand to get him to stop.

They're both also accused of assaulting a flight attendant during the incident.

It was not immediately known if Rodriguez had an attorney to speak on her behalf.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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