Legacy Pilots Indicted on Criminal Charges…

 - June 5, 2007, 11:57 AM

American pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino were indicted Friday 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 reviewed the recommendation of the federal prosecutor and agreed with the indictment, officially charging the pilots with unintentional endangerment of an aircraft through negligence, Joel Weiss, the lawyer representing the pilots, told AIN. 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 one-and-a-third and four years, said Weiss. In an unexpected move, the federal prosecutor recommended similar charges for the air traffic controllers, which the judge also agreed to on Friday. One controller was given a more serious indictment, indicating he knowingly put the two aircraft in harm’s way. An earlier federal police report said that while the controllers were negligent, it was the responsibility of the military to prosecute them.