Former JetBlue employee Steve Slater will undergo a mental health evaluation in the United States with a view to a possible plea bargain.
Mr Slater – who shot to fame last month following his dramatic exit from an aircraft – will be assessed for an alternative sentencing program, and could face community service or counselling instead of jail.
Pictured: Steve Slater enters court in New York
The former flight attendant captured the world’s imagination when he commandeered the public address system on an international flight, swore at a passenger who he claimed had treated him rudely, grabbed a beer and exited via an emergency chute.
Following the incident at Kennedy International Airport in August, he was charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.
At a court appearance in New York Mr Slater agreed to undergo the assessment, apparently having acknowledged the impact of his actions.
No Laughing Matter
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown told Slater his actions were “no laughing matter”, reminding him the slide cost $25,000 to repair and that the plane had to be taken out of service afterward, causing delays.
In defence Daniel Horwitz, Mr Slater’s attorney, argued his client had been under tremendous pressure because of his terminally ill mother, recently deceased father, and health problems.
He added that Mr Slater was HIV positive, and that he hoped prosecutors would take into account Slater’s “long-standing and well-regarded reputation in the industry”.
Mr Slater remains unemployed following his resignation from JetBlue.
“Right now we want to get past the criminal issues. Then we’ll worry about the future,” publicist Howard Bragman added.
“Obviously he will be unemployed until all this is resolved.”