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Brazilian Authorities Backtrack and US Pilots Are Threatened with Jail

Two hours of conversations by two American pilots between themselves and with the air control towers in São José dos Campos, in the interior of São Paulo and in Brazilian capital BrasÀ­lia, might decide in the next few days if the pilots of the Legacy executive jet can go back to the US, ending their virtual house arrest, or if they will be taken to prison.

The transcription of the dialogues in English have been translated into Portuguese and a team of experts is expected to start today the analysis of the material.

They will be looking for hints that Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino acted in an irresponsible or criminal way that ended up causing Brazil’s worst air accident ever with 154 dead.

Anonymous testimonies published by the Brazilian media have painted a picture of failing equipment in the control center and less than professional behavior by some air controllers.

All this information, however, hasn’t changed the fact that the Brazilian authorities consider the American pilots their main suspect. The analysis of the conversations may mean the difference between declaring Lepore and Paladino innocent or guilty of gross negligence or even criminal malice.

Federal police chief Renato Sayão, who is in charge of the investigation, had indicated last week that the interview with the pilots would be just a pro-forma, bureaucratic act and that the Americans would be free to leave soon after their testimony.

He has changed considerably his tone, however. "If it can be proved that the pilots deliberately engaged in dangerous behavior, like turning off the transponder, disobeying control tower orders or changing the flight altitude on their own initiative, they will not escape indictment for felonious homicide."

If they are found innocent or if there is an indictment for involuntary manslaughter the American pilots, whose passports have been confiscated since the beginning of October, will be able to leave immediately to the US.

In case they are indicted for felonious homicide, however, the Brazilian Justice may order their temporary arrest and they will be in jail while the inquiry’s fact finding goes on.

"This is a very serious crime," says Sayão, "carrying from 8 to 24 years of jail time."

People close to the investigation say that after close to two months of probing, the Brazilian Federal Police seem inclined to indict the two American pilots.

According to Sayão, the transcript shows a  dialogue between the two pilots, right after the collision with the Boeing 737, which is very "revealing." But he refused to tell what he heard.

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  • Show Comments (13)

  • Stephen

    Oberver!
    Here Here by bo!!! The americans reading this forum and agree that the US pilots need to go home asap, you need to get off your duff and get the mainstream media in the US to take this story to the front page, otherwise the pilots are going to get toasted and burned. This is Brazil folks!!!

    http://www.house.gov/writerep/
    http://www.senate.gov/
    go to this web site – enter your zip code
    and you will get your congressman/ senator.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
    Click the contact button
    Send an email to President Bush.
    They do not care about you unless they hear from you.
    Here are some Media emails. – They are much more out there. Find some yourself or just call people.
    letters@washpost.com
    public@nytimes.com
    managing-editor@nytimes.com
    executive-editor@nytimes.com
    letters@msnbc.com
    voices@msnbc.com
    joe@msnbc.com
    abramsreport@msnbc.com
    countdown@msnbc.com
    hardball@msnbc.com
    Imus@msnbc.com
    Dateline@NBC.com
    Nightly@NBC.com
    weekendtoday@nbc.com
    Today@NBC.com
    WebEditors@newsweek.com
    dayside@foxnews.com
    friends@foxnews.com
    Feedback@foxnews.com
    atlarge@foxnews.com
    FNS@foxnews.com
    newswatch@foxnews.com
    Comments@foxnews.com
    Foxreport@foxnews.com
    hannity@foxnews.com
    Colmes@foxnews.com
    Heartland@foxnews.com
    special@foxnews.com
    studiob@foxnews.com
    myword@foxnews.com
    oreilly@foxnews.com

  • bo

    [quote]It only takes the two pilots to guide that plane, not a software program from the control department, not a transponder, not the controllers when transmitions are faulty.The guy said it all, what a cry babies I am appalled.[/quote]

    That shows your ignorance. Areas of the country where radio communications doesn’t work, blind spots on radar, pilots are DEFINITELY counting on the CONTROLLERS to keep them out of harms way.

    I guess after all this news over the last month, you still want to blame the american pilots huh??? Truly laughable.

    Once all the facts are discovered the americans need to sue the brazilian gov’t. and the brazilian aviation federation, and as long as its not done in brazil by corrupt brazilian judges, they’ll win.

    And crybabies?? Typical idiotic, immature response. The brazilian air traffic controllers are responsible for the deaths of over 150 innocent people, and very easily could’ve been responsible for the deaths of the others that miraculously survived.

  • indeed

    *and shocked

  • indeed

    the cry babies! who else?
    [quote] american, read my statement, I said statements that have been given by the AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS, not the pilots. The statements that have been given to the press, numerous different sources, have all confirmed human error, instrumental error, software error, etc. Anyone who would even think that the american pilots were negligent after finding out all these faults and errors in the brazilian air traffic system, including “blind spots”, for the love of god, has other agendas. [/quote]

    It only takes the two pilots to guide that plane, not a software program from the control department, not a transponder, not the controllers when transmitions are faulty.The guy said it all, what a cry babies I am appalled.

  • Rick

    It took Brazil 30 years to get past DeGaulleÀ‚´s statement that Brazil was not a serious country. How long will it take to live down this sideshow?

  • bo

    [quote]Bo, the amount of statements by the pilots doesn’t mean anything if they are false if they don’t match the own recordings…right???[/quote]

    american, read my statement, I said statements that have been given by the AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS, not the pilots. The statements that have been given to the press, numerous different sources, have all confirmed human error, instrumental error, software error, etc. Anyone who would even think that the american pilots were negligent after finding out all these faults and errors in the brazilian air traffic system, including “blind spots”, for the love of god, has other agendas.

  • Teena

    Americans the cry babies
    Why is this an American thing? It is a human rights vioaltion regardless of nationality. Charge them or release them; they are not prisoners of war and thus have not relinquished their right to a speedy trial. Prison is prison even if it is a hotel in Rio; they are being deprived of their freedom. No, a hotel in Rio is not Guatanamo, but Guantanamo would be a step up for Brazilian prisons.

  • an American

    Bo, the amount of statements by the pilots doesn’t mean anything if they are false if they don’t match the own recordings…right???

    Ugh, the media is the one that published unofficial news or do you have access to all the official transcripts? If you do have gives the source, please!!!

    Allen Brown, I donÀ¢€™t think is about bribe otherwise the pilots would have been released a long time agoÀ¢€¦ I donÀ¢€™t know about your case thoughÀ¢€¦

    Breckenfeld, I think the real problem is that big brother to the north can not push his weight though this oneÀ¢€¦

  • Breckenfeld

    AMERICANS ALWAYS THE CRY BABIES !!!!
    I just cannot understand all this fuss about the Legacy pilots being detained in Brazil.So what ?
    An investigation is under way. they have had access to legal counseling and everuthing. They just cannot leave Brazil.
    After all, Brazil is not bad. And where they are is not Guantanamo.

  • Allen Brown

    CYA A BRASILIAN THING
    IT IS ALL ABOUT THE BRIBE THEY WANT TO LET THEM GO
    COME UP WITH MONEY OR GO TO JAIL TILL WE ARE FINISHED WITH YOU .
    AND BY THE WE ARE GOING TO KEEP THE PLANE YOU PAID FOR ALSO .

    same as it happend with my boat but they deported me and then said i abandon it so they had to take it
    US and other countries should ban travel to brasil and let us go to CUBA
    at least there we are treated like humans not a walking bank for them to robe at will

  • ugh

    “Brazilian Authorities BACKTRACK”

    What does one expect from a backwards country?

  • bo

    amazing..
    after all the statements given by air traffic controllers over the past few weeks, how in the world can these people even consider treating the pilots as criminals.

    When it all pans out, if we ever find out the real truth, and its revealed the american pilots had no fault, they need to sue the brazilian gov’t. in the Haig if necessary!

  • alltheway

    around and round it goes

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