Legacy pilots booked on criminal charges

 - July 2, 2007, 9:45 AM

American pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino were indicted last month for their alleged part in the collision of their Embraer Legacy with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 over the Amazon jungle last September in which all aboard the airliner died. The judge in the case agreed to proceed with the prosecutor’s suggested indictment, officially charging the pilots with unintentional endangerment of an aircraft through negligence. If the pilots are convicted, the base charge carries a sentence of between one and three years, but special circumstances can increase that period to between 16 months and four years. In an unexpected move, the federal prosecutor recommended–and the judge agreed to–similar charges for the air traffic controllers. One controller was given a more serious indictment, indicating he knowingly put the two aircraft in harm’s way.