By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – A 20-year-old California man pleaded not guilty in Denver Federal Court to charges of interference with a flight crew in an October incident. It led an American Airlines flight from New York to Santa Ana, California to be diverted to Denver.

(credit: CBS)

Brian Hsu told authorities he had been attacked in New York City and suffered psychological damaged. He was escorted off American Airlines flight #976 in Denver in October after a flight attendant said he punched her.

A drink cart was placed in the aisle to barricade him before passengers taped him to a seat.
The incident happened when the flight attendant says she told him he could not use the lavatory.

(credit: OC Hawk)

Hsu claims the flight attendant then charged at him. One court document says Hsu indicated he had brain surgery in Rhode Island just one month before that flight.

Another says, “Hsu stated that he became scared because an impact to his head in its current state could cause him severe injury or death.”

The FBI wrote Hsu told them in an interview he was playing football during the time between the brain surgery and the flight. Hsu lives in Irvine, California where his mother would not comment, but neighbors did.

(credit: CBS)

“He’s a very nice boy. He went to New York after graduation from Northridge High School,” one man who says he knows the family said

Hsu has been banned from flying American Airlines whose CEO called it one of the worst in-flight attacks.

The flight attendant suffered a concussion and broken bones in her face.

Rick Sallinger