Brazilian Judge Wants U.S. Pilots in His Court

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CNN say a judge in Brazil has turned down a request from Long Island bizjet pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino to use a U.S. court to testify about their role in a collision between their Embraer 600 and a GOL Boeing 737 that resulted in the deaths of all 154 aboard the airliner last year. The pilots have a date in front of Judge Murilo Mendes on Monday but their lawyer Joel Weiss says they don't mind telling their story under oath but they'd rather do it within sight of the Statue of Liberty. Weiss says the U.S. and Brazil have a treaty that allows this type of long-distance testimony. Ironically, it's the Brazilians who fear they won't get a fair shake from the process. A court spokesman said Mendes is afraid a U.S. judge will filter his questions.

The pilots are charged with endangering an aircraft. The Brazilians say they either turned off their transponder or failed to notice it wasn't working and that prevented the TCAS on the 737 from alerting its pilots to the fact that controllers had cleared both aircraft to the same altitude, on the same airway going in opposite directions. The controllers are being dealt with by the Brazilian military, which runs air traffic control there. Mendes hasn't said what he'll do if the pilots don't show.