Former American Airlines mechanic pleads guilty to sabotaging plane
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani sabotaged flight scheduled to depart from Miami International Airport
MIAMI – A former American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging an airplane that was scheduled to take off from Miami International Airport has pleaded guilty.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani entered the plea Wednesday in Miami federal court.
The 60-year-old did not face any terrorism-related charges despite evidence of ties to the Islamic State group.
According to a federal complaint, Alani admitted to sabotaging the plane July 17 as it was scheduled to fly from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, because he wanted to get overtime pay to fix it.
The issue was detected before the plane got off the ground.
Federal authorities said surveillance video showed Alani fidgeting with equipment in the compartment where the plane’s air data module system is located.
Alani confessed to tampering with the ADM, inserting a piece of foam where the line connects to the system and then using super glue to keep it in place.
“He’s worked for the airline for 30 years and never intended to harm anybody,” attorney Jonathan Meltz told Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez outside the courthouse.
Meltz said his client’s motivation was simply to earn overtime.
This afternoon Abdul Alani entered a plea of guilty in federal court to the charge in the indictment. We caught up with his attorney Jonathan Meltz after the hearing. BACKGROUND: Airline mechanic sabotaged flight so he could get overtime work, feds say https://t.co/djDKmgB1Ap pic.twitter.com/bOEznFFAd4— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) December 18, 2019
“All he wanted to do was for that plane to be taken to maintenance and he would get the opportunity to earn a few extra bucks," Meltz said. “It’s sad. It’s tragic. Thankfully, nobody was ever in danger. Nobody was hurt, and he’s going to suffer the consequences by going to prison and being away from the family he had been trying to provide for.”
The charge of attempted destruction of an aircraft carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Alani will be sentenced in March.
Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.