Grand jury indicts Tampa man who assaulted Delta flight crew

A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday for the Tampa man accused of interfering with crew members on a Delta flight from Seattle to Beijing.

The five-count indictment charged 23-year-old Joseph Hudek IV with interference with flight crew and attendants and four counts of assault within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

"Mr. Hudek is a peaceful person who has flown an airplane multiple times without an incident," his attorney Robert Flennaugh said in an email to KING 5 on Thursday. "Obviously, something uncharacteristically happened to him on the flight. Importantly, Mr. Hudek is sorry about what happened." 

Flennaugh said they look forward to providing more information to the court at the appropriate time. 

Hudek was seated in first class on Delta Flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing on July 6. He was flying on a dependent ticket because his mom works for Delta, according to 10News in Tampa. 

He attempted to open an aircraft exit door during the flight, then attacked two flight attendants and passengers. 

According to court documents, the crew members tried to restrain Hudek, but he fought back and punched them, hitting two people over the head with wine bottles. 

The plane turned back to Seattle near Vancouver Island about one hour into the flight. 

Flennaugh told KING 5 in an email last week they were still investigating and preparing to request for Hudek's release from federal custody. 

Hudek faces up to 20 years in prison for interfering with the crew. Three of the assault charges carry up to 10 years in prison, and the fourth assault charge is a misdemeanor with up to one year in prison. 

The charges in the indictment are still only allegations, the U.S. Attorney's office said. 

Hudek remains at a federal detention center in SeaTac. He's set to be arraigned next Thursday.

© 2017 KING-TV


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