Man accused of igniting brawl on Seattle-to-Beijing flight to be released from custody

Joseph D. Hudek IV will be released to his mother so he can return home to Tampa, Florida, despite the government’s objections. However, he must travel by train or car and cannot fly, according to a magistrate judge in Seattle. .

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, Florida, 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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In releasing Hudek, Donohue said he was not downplaying the seriousness of the charges or the impact of his actions on not only the alleged assault victims, but also on the 210 passengers and other crew members on the jetliner whose lives were potentially put at risk.

“There is no doubt there was terror in the sky,” the judge said during a hearing in federal court in Seattle. One of the flight attendants, the judge said, “had the stuffing beaten out of him.”

But Donohue noted that Hudek has no other history of violence and no criminal record and found that any risks Hudek did pose could be mitigated by the conditions he imposed and monitoring by probation officers.

Hudek faces up to 10 years in federal prison for a count of interfering with a flight- crew member and from 20 years to…

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