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Chicago Man To Stand Trial In Denver For Allegedly Groping Woman On Plane

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Denver police and an FBI agent escort Marcus Covington off a JetBlue flight from New York to L.A., after Covington allegedly fondled a pregnant woman, and refused a flight attendant's request to stay seated. (Photo courtesy: Yoram Kohanzadeh)

Denver police and an FBI agent escort Marcus Covington off a JetBlue flight from New York to L.A., after Covington allegedly fondled a pregnant woman, and refused a flight attendant’s request to stay seated. (Photo courtesy: Yoram Kohanzadeh)

Jan Coleman Jan Coleman
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DENVER (CBS) — A Chicago man will stand trial in Denver on charges he behaved badly on an aircraft.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Jan Coleman reports, a federal judge in Denver set the trial date for Oct. 15 for Marcus Covington, 32, who allegedly groped a pregnant woman on a JetBlue flight from New York to Los Angeles — and refused to obey a flight attendant.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Jan Coleman reports

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, after the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver.

Federal prosecutors claim Covington was intoxicated as he groped the woman while waiting to use the lavatory on the plane this past Sunday.

An FBI agent on the plane was forced to intervene, and Covington sat between the agent and another passenger. Afterward, the pilot made an emergency landing in Denver last Sunday to kick Covington off the jet.

Kohanzadeh said he couldn’t see the incident involving Covington, who was seated behind him, but he could sense there was trouble on the flight. He pulled out his camera when Covington was taken off the plane.

Passenger Yoram Kohanzadeh filmed Covington as he was led away in handcuffs.

“When he was walking off, he dropped a few F-bombs here and there, saying ‘Why the f*** are you guys bothering me? Why are you guys doing this to me?’” he said. “A few passengers, myself included, noticed him wobbling a little bit when he was walking around.”

One passenger saw Covington “take at least eight pills of an unidentified substance during the final portion of the flight,” according to the criminal complaint against him.

Although officials said there was never any danger to the aircraft itself, Covington’s antics allegedly continued after he was escorted off the plane. He allegedly “kicked at” and “spit on” Denver police officers who were trying to get him to sit in a chair at the airport.

The charges against Covington carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

A grand jury in the mile-high city indicted Covington on charges of interference with a flight attendant and abusive sexual contact on an aircraft.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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