The Florida man accused of going berserk on a Seattle-to-Beijing flight, beating passengers and crew members with a wine bottle before being subdued, has been ordered released from federal custody by a Seattle magistrate judge.
Joseph D. Hudek IV, 23, last month asked the court to reconsider its order detaining him following his arrest on July 6 after allegedly trying to open an exit door aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 129 while the Boeing 767 was over the Pacific Ocean.
Hudek says in new court documents that he’d eaten cannabis just before the flight and insists he poses no danger if he’s not high.
Magistrate Judge James Donohue on Tuesday released Hudek to his mother so he can return home to Tampa, Fla., despite the government’s objections. However, Hudek cannot fly and must travel by train or car. He also is barred from using cannabis.
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Hudek, who faces 20 years to life for assault and up to 10 years for other criminal counts, is scheduled to be tried on Feb. 22
According to federal charges, Hudek — who was flying first class on a “dependent pass” — became violent when two flight attendants tried to stop him from opening a cabin door. Federal agents said he was able to move the lever halfway up.
A melee ensued in which Hudek allegedly punched one of the attendants twice in the face, hit a male passenger in the head with a