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Judge orders man to pay $97,000 in restitution for disrupting airlines after being removed from flight

By Mason White 1:00 PM September 3, 2017
James August
James August
By: Alexis Bell

(Scroll down for video) A New Jersey man was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution to an airline over his drunken and disruptive behavior on a flight.

U.S. District Senior Judge Oki Molloway has ordered James August to pay Hawaiian Airlines $97,817 after the flight was forced to return to the gate due to his bad behavior.

He was also sentenced to three years probation.

The ruling came after August pleaded guilty to interfering with flight crew members and flight attendants.

The money will be taken out of August’s paycheck. 10 percent of his gross income will be handed over each month to the airline until the restitution is paid in full.

According to court records, August was traveling with his girlfriend and her three children from Honolulu to New York.

He allegedly became abusive towards his girlfriend and her children.

August was accused of threatening to slash his girlfriend’s throat, and was swearing at her and her children. The woman moved her children to other seats in order to get away from him.

As the plane moved away from the gate, a flight attendant asked her and the children to go back to their assigned seats, but she refused.

The woman’s 11-year-old son begged the female flight attendant to keep them away from August.

The flight attendant then asked August to move to another seat. He refused and slapped the flight attendant on the shoulder.

Two male flight attendants held him down while the captain turned back to the gate. The judge ordered August to reimburse the airline for costs it incurred when turning the plane around, including fuel, maintenance, ground crew and for passengers who had to catch other flights.

Interfering with flight crew is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.