McGuire blamed for ruckus on airplane

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2008

ANCHORAGE - State Sen. Lesil McGuire caused a disturbance on an Alaska Airlines flight, including throwing a glass of water when flight attendants refused to serve her alcohol, authorities said.

An Anchorage airport police report of the Sept. 4 incident says the Anchorage Republican also continued using her BlackBerry after being asked to turn it off in preparation of the flight from Juneau to Anchorage. According to the report, McGuire continued texting, prompting the pilot to stop the plane as it was taxiing.

McGuire, who chairs the State Affairs Committee, was questioned by police at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, but was not charged with a crime.

She did not immediately return a message left Wednesday by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Witnesses told police McGuire was rude, used profanity, bad-mouthed the pilots and caused further delay by getting out of her seat.

She was escorted through the airport by police for questioning. In the recorded police interview, McGuire repeatedly said she did nothing wrong. She said she was unfairly targeted by a flight attendant.

"It was literally like she set her sights on me ... I felt like I was being hunted," she said.

McGuire cried during the interview, saying "I feel terrible."

The flight crew didn't want to pursue charges and none will be filed, airport police said.

McGuire's attorney, Mike Corey, told the Anchorage Daily News that the report by airport police presents a skewed view of what happened. It does not include, for example, statements from the passengers seated next to her.

In a written statement faxed to airport police 11 days after the incident, McGuire disputed their findings. She said she was cooperative with the flight crew, and the spilled water was an accident.

In her statement, McGuire said she was texting about her flight being delayed to the person who was supposed to pick her up in Anchorage. She said she cooperated with the flight attendant when asked to turn off her BlackBerry.

But according to the Sept. 5 police report, obtained along with the audio of the police interview by the Anchorage Daily News, one of the flight attendants said crew members chose to not serve McGuire alcohol because they decided she would be escorted off the plane once it landed.

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