New York man sentenced in 2020 case that caused airplane to be diverted to St. Louis

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Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 2:04 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – A New York man will spend 40 days in jail after he caused a flight to be diverted to St. Louis in 2020.

In April, James Maloney Jr. pleaded guilty to one felony count of interference with crew members by assault. In addition to the prison sentence, the 37-year-old was ordered to pay $8,000 to American Airlines and perform 100 hours of community service. He is also banned from alcohol and must undergo substance abuse testing and treatment, and mental health counseling.

On Sept. 12, 2020, Maloney was on a flight from Charlotte to Las Vegas. A flight attendant saw him with his mask off, drinking a beer that was not purchased on the plane. In his plea, Maloney admitted that he used expletives and racial epithets when the flight attendant asked him to put on his mask. When the flight crew handed him a final written warning, he told them he would crumple it up and throw it in their face.

Authorities said Maloney went to the bathroom and was agitated when he returned and didn’t see his girlfriend. His plea states he lunged at the flight attendant and attempted to hit them. Maloney’s girlfriend grabbed him before he could touch the flight attendant.

The plane was diverted to St. Louis, where Maloney was arrested. When he was put into handcuffs by airport police, he yelled and cursed.