An Australian woman convicted by a jury on felony charges related to assaulting a cabin crew member could now face a maximum of 21 years in prison when she is sentenced in June. The guilty verdict is the result of a January incident in which an apparently drunk Adau Akui Atem Mornyang had to be restrained by federal air marshals following a violent meltdown on a transpacific flight.
U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California announced on Tuesday that an Australian national who assaulted a flight attendant during a United Airlines flight from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in January has been found guilty of federal charges. Adau Akui Atem Mornyang was convicted by a jury on one felony charge of interference with a flight crew and one misdemeanor charge of assault. She now faces a statutory maximum sentence of 21 years in federal prison.
The 24-year-old Victoria woman finds herself facing decades behind bars following a January 21st incident in which the visibly intoxicated passenger violently objected to a flight attendant refusing to serve her any more alcoholic beverages. Prosecutors say the disruptive flyer’s behavior continued to escalate until federal air marshals and crew members were forced to restrain the out-of-control air traveler.
“According to the evidence presented at trial, several hours into the flight, passengers approached a flight attendant to complain about Mornyang’s disruptive behavior, which included flailing her arms and yelling obscenities and racial slurs,” a Department of Justice spokesperson explained. “When the flight attendant approached to assess the situation, Mornyang began to shout at the flight attendant and then slapped him across his face. The flight attendant attempted to restrain Mornyang until federal air marshals could assist. The federal air marshals were forced to stay with Mornyang in the rear galley of the plane for the remainder of the flight.”
According to multiple media reports, Mornyang had consumed as many as six mini-bottles of wine during the 14-hour-long flight. In addition to slapping a flight attendant, she also reportedly removed her socks and threw them at fellow passengers then later kicked an air marshal in the chest. One of the air marshals involved testified that Mornyang was “the worst disruptive passenger” he had ever encountered in his decade-long career with the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS).
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