Veteran accused of smuggling pipe-bomb parts onto a flight pleads guilty to lesser violation
By Amy L. Edwards
ORLANDO, Fla. — A man accused of trying to smuggle pipe-bomb components onto a flight last year at Orlando International Airport pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in federal court Monday.
Kevin Christopher Brown, 33, a U.S. Army veteran from Jamaica who lives in South Florida, pleaded to a misdemeanor count of entering an aircraft or airport area in violation of security requirements.
Brown, who was arrested after the April 2008 incident, originally faced a felony charge of attempting to place an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.
The FBI eventually determined the items Brown had in his luggage were neither an explosive nor an incendiary device, according to court documents. It did, however, deem the items flammable.
During the hearing in Orlando, Brown appeared with defense attorney Wayne Golding Sr. and another defense lawyer. Brown cordially answered Chief U.S. District Judge Anne Conway's questions, concluding nearly all his responses with "your honor."
Other than answering the judge's questions, Brown did not offer his own statement.
Brown was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and at one point was deemed incompetent to stand trial. He has since been found competent.
Conway accepted Brown's plea and scheduled sentencing for October.
Brown could face up to a year imprisonment. His attorney noted he had been held in custody for about 14 months before being released from jail last month.
After the hearing, Brown's attorneys said his case was blown out of proportion by federal officials.
"This was not a situation where you had a terrorist," Golding said.
With Brown at his side outside the courthouse, Golding said his client acknowledges "it was a mistake" to have the items in his luggage.