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Man accused of causing Delta flight diversion ordered held

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man accused of trying to break into the cockpit of a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Nashville, causing its diversion last Friday to Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been ordered to remain in custody pending further hearings.

Asiel Christian Norton, 43, of Venice, California, made an initial appearance Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque on a charge of interference with flight crew and attendants, according to court records and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A criminal complaint submitted by an FBI agent said Norton during the flight pounded on the cockpit door and said “we need to land this plane” before he was restrained by a flight attendant and passengers and then carried to the rear of the plane.

The flight attendant, who was not identified, said Norton didn’t appear to be intoxicated and wasn’t served alcohol during the flight, the complaint said.

There was no reported injury.

Angelica Hall, a federal public defender assigned to represent Norton, did not immediately respond Wednesday to an emailed request for comment on the allegations.

If convicted, Norton could face up to 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

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