Legacy pilot is heard by Brazilian judge via videoconference
FROM SÃO PAULO
One of the American pilots of the Legacy jet involved in the accident with the Gol Boeing in 2006, killing 154 people, is being heard since the start of this Wednesday afternoon by a Brazilian federal judge via videoconference.
Jean Paul Paladino's testimony began about 12:20. He is in New York (USA) and is being heard by Federal Judge Murilo Mendes, who is at the Ministry of Justice's Department of Asset Recovery and Legal Cooperation.
According to the Ministry of Justice, this is the first time the Brazilian courts hear testimony by international videoconference. Tomorrow, starting at noon, should be heard the testimony of the other pilot, who was also on the aircraft, Joseph Lepore.
At the end of last year, the trial that investigates the accident was divided in two: one for the pilots -- accused of "an attack against the safety of air transport" -- and the other for the air traffic controllers, accused for errors that contributed to the collision of the aircraft. The goal was to accelerate the judgment of the Americans.
Last week, the Federal Court in Sinop (MT) received the translations of the sworn testimony of the defense of the pilots, who live in the USA. The judge had determined that they too be heard by videoconference, but the lawyers requested that they send their testimony in writing.
The Association of Friends and Relatives of Victims of Flight 1907 held protests in the cities of São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Brasília, simultaneously. The protests began around noon and consisted in distributing pamphlets and showing banners asking that the pilots be found guilty.
The association's press secretary said that there is also a protest underway at the door of the Federal courthouse in Long Island, in New York, where the testimony is taking place.
Tomorrow, the protests should happen again, during the testimony of pilot Joseph Lepore in the same cities where it took place today, and in Manaus as well. .
On the 20th, relatives of the victims protested in front of the Marriot Hotel in Rio, where American president Barack Obama was staying.
Currently, Paladino is working for American Airlines, and Lepore continues at air taxi company ExcelAire, owner of the Legacy.
The accident revealed the fragility of Brazilian air traffic control. The matter also set off the opening of CPIs (Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry) and investigations by the Federal Police and the Air Force, which concluded that the Legacy's transponder --anticollision equipment - was turned off during the flight.