Miami Airline Mechanic Pleads Not Guilty to Sabotage Despite Alleged Confession

An American Airlines Airbus A319 is parked at a gate at Miami International Airport, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Miami. American Airlines and a subsidiary will pay $9.8 million in stock to settle claims that they failed to help disabled employees return to work. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The former American Airlines mechanic has pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he sabotaged a flight carrying 150 passengers out of Miami despite an alleged confession.

Abdul-Majeed Alani may have told investigators he wanted some overtime when he messed with the navigation system of a Miami-to-Nassau, Bahamas flight but he pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted destruction of a plane.

His attorney said an acquittal was still possible despite the alleged confession. There was nothing in the indictment that mentioned the ISS video the FBI said its agents found on his phone and the defense attorney said this is not a terrorism case.

A grand jury indicted 60-year-old Ahmed Alani with willfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft. If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Although he wasn’t charged with a terror-related crime, prosecutors say Alani saved videos showing Islamic State propaganda, and made statements about wanting Allah to hurt non-Muslims and about a brother in Iraq who has links to ISIS.

“You may be very sympathetic to terrorists,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley said during a bond hearing Wednesday.

Alani allegedly said he wanted the flight to be delayed because he wanted overtime work, but investigators believe he had a more sinister plot. McAliley ordered Alani to be held without bond.