Brazilian Prosecutor Wants Pilots Charged

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Itís now up to a judge to decide whether American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino will face criminal charges in the collision of their Embraer Legacy 600 bizjet with a GOL Airlines Boeing 737 last September. The Associated Press says a Brazilian prosecutor has recommended charges of placing a vessel or aircraft in jeopardy against the pair, who were held in Brazil for two months after the crash and released on the promise they would return to face any charges that were laid. The prosecutorís recommendations will be sent to a judge who will decide if charges are warranted. The charges related to the allegation that Lepore and Paladino should have noticed that the aircraftís transponder was not working. The pilots deny any wrongdoing in the collision, which led to the crash of the airliner and the loss of all 154 on board. They say, and recordings seem to support, that they were at their assigned altitude and course at the time of the collision. Their lawyer Joel Weiss told The Associated Press that charges are at the very least premature since the accident investigation isnít finished. "The prosecutor has prematurely reached a conclusion before the true experts, the civil aeronautics investigators, have fully investigated this matter," Weiss said.