Former American Airlines mechanic pleads not guilty to sabotage

MIAMI – The former American Airlines mechanic charged with sabotage of a plane leaving Miami plead not guilty Friday.

The attorney for Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, filed the plea in Miami federal court the day after his client was indicted by a grand jury.

"Today it starts the beginning of the case." said attorney Jonathan Meltz. "We start working on it and we're looking forward to the whole truth coming out."

At Alani's bond hearing Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley was presented with evidence that Alani confessed his actions and that he may even have ties with terrorism. 

American Airlines reported the sabotage to the FBI and fired Alani on Sept. 7. The agents said Alani confessed to tampering with the air data module of a Boeing 737-800 on July 17 before it departed from MIA to Nassau.

An ISIS propaganda video was allegedly found on Alani's phone, and there are allegations that his brother may even be a member of the terrorist group. 

But Meltz says the family denies those claims.

"The family is shocked. They were shocked just as everybody was shocked when they heard those allegations in court the other day and fully deny everything and they're looking to get the truth out."

McAliley ordered Alani, who could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, to be held without bond.

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