Monday Nov 01 2010
Feds: man pointed laser at aircraft
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
His father says he was just stargazing
U.S. attorneys are accusing a Roseville man of interfering with a CHP plane by pointing a laser at it. A federal grand jury returned the one-count indictment against Samuel Liebman, who is out on a $150,000 bond. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Highway Patrol, and Federal Air Marshals with the Joint Terrorism Task Force collaborated on the case. The indictment accuses Liebman, 51, of trying to “disable” a commercial CHP Cessna 206 with a laser pen on Aug. 30. He had a “reckless disregard for human life,” meaning the person operating the plane, according to court documents. But Liebman’s father, Leonard Liebman, said his son was merely stargazing when he made accidental contact with the aircraft – an act he said law enforcement has blown out of proportion. “It’s such a minor thing,” Leonard Liebman said. As collateral to get his son released from jail, he used his house, where they are both staying now. Leonard Liebman said his son, who declined to comment, is staying inside with a foot injury. Samuel Liebman is being assigned an attorney, but in the meantime, federal public defender Matthew Bockmon appeared with him in court to post bond. Bockmon, based in Sacramento, said that after the arrest in August, Samuel Liebman was released from jail until officers found a laser in his home. He was re-arrested and re-released. While out on bond, the defendant is subject to unannounced searches for lasers, Bockmon said. “That’s an extraordinary condition of release,” the attorney said. “That’s a new one on me.” The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Lien Hoang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.