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Man in court over biting on Hawaii flight

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/01/2017 Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

A man accused of biting a Hawaiian Airlines employee during a July flight from American Samoa to Hawaii is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday for interfering with a flight crew.

Aumoeualogo Agaaoa Togia pleaded guilty in September in exchange for dismissal of an assault charge.

Togia drank alcohol before and during the nonstop flight from Pago Pago to Honolulu, according to his plea agreement. Halfway into the flight, he refused to take his seat when the seat belt light turned on and became verbally and physically abusive - punching the bathroom door and threating to kill flight attendants, the court document said.

An FBI affidavit said Togia bit a load planner in the hand while the worker was trying to restrain Togia. Load planners determine where the bags and cargo are placed on the aircraft to ensure proper weight and balance, said airline spokeswoman Ann Botticelli. It's not clear why the load planner was on the flight.

Togia pushed the load planner, the affidavit said.

Togia disputes that he bit anyone, said Assistant US Attorney Margaret Nammar. Assistant Federal Defender Melinda Yamaga, who represents Togia, didn't return a message seeking comment on Thursday morning.

While in a holding cell at Honolulu International Airport, Togia told an FBI agent he fought back after being "ambushed", that he "might have blacked out" and didn't remember what happened.

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