Case of accused flight attendant might not make it to trial

BISMARCK, N.D. – The case of a flight attendant accused of using bogus in-air bomb threats to disrupt flights he worked in the upper Midwest and on the East Coast last year might not make it to trial in either North Dakota or Virginia.

Court documents show the Virginia case may be transferred to North Dakota, which would indicate a plea agreement or a change of plea might occur, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme.

“Cases don’t get transferred out for trials, generally,” he said.

Justin Cox-Sever, a former SkyWest Airlines flight attendant from Tempe, Arizona, is accused of making bogus bomb threats on a July flight from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Chicago, and on a September flight from Minneapolis to Dickinson, North Dakota. Prosecutors haven’t speculated about a possible motive.

Cox-Sever, 22, is charged in federal court in both Virginia, where he has not yet entered a plea, and North Dakota, where he has pleaded not guilty and was to stand trial this week. However, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in Bismarck late last month granted a defence motion to delay the North Dakota case.

Federal Public Defender Neil Fulton indicated in his motion that the two cases might be consolidated and that he needed more time to prepare. Hovland scheduled a three-day trial beginning April 5 in Bismarck.

Fulton on Tuesday declined to discuss in detail how Cox-Sever wants to proceed.

“We are discussing all his options,” Fulton said.

FBI Special Agent Daniel Genck wrote in an affidavit that Cox-Sever admitted planting a suspicious bag on the North Dakota flight and writing a threat on a wall of the plane’s bathroom in the Virginia case.

Cox-Sever is no longer employed by SkyWest, though the airline won’t say whether he was fired or left on his own.