Peninsula News

Attorney: Accused cockpit intruder had 'breakdown'

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Scott Corley rescheduled the arraignment of Rageh al-Murisi, 28, until Friday.

(KGO Photo)

A Yemeni man's arraignment on a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew on a San Francisco-bound American Airlines flight earlier this month was postponed Tuesday morning.

U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Scott Corley rescheduled the arraignment of Rageh al-Murisi, 28, until Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Al-Murisi's family retained attorney Christopher Morales on Monday, and Morales requested an opportunity to meet with al-Murisi, who doesn't speak English, with the assistance of an interpreter before he is arraigned.

Morales said he hopes to meet today with al-Murisi, who is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail and has been indicted by a grand jury after he was arrested for allegedly ramming the cockpit door on the flight from Chicago on May 8.

The court has questioned al-Murisi's mental health, and Morales said al-Murisi met with a doctor on Monday, but did not say whether his client has been evaluated yet.

Morales said he plans to enter a plea of not guilty on Friday and request al-Murisi's release.

"This is not terrorism, he is not even charged with terrorism," Morales said outside of court Tuesday. "He is not a danger. His family is baffled."

The charge of interfering with a flight crew carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison upon conviction.

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