An intoxicated clothing company creator and actor who disrupted a United Airlines Orange County-bound flight from Chicago in September 2012 must surrender his freedom to federal agents no later than noon on March 3 and begin serving a one-year sentence.
Arash Durrani (a.k.a. "Ahmed Baz Ash" or, simply, "Ash") had faced a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison for bizarre conduct during the flight.
According to a federal law enforcement report, he demanded alcohol, wanted to sit in first class on his coach ticket, interrupted the pre-flight safety instruction presentation, grabbed a flight attendant, screamed, paced the aisle, threatened to beat up male passengers and sexually harassed a woman. He was eventually subdued and doctors gave him a sedative. When deputies removed him in handcuffs upon landing, annoyed passengers cheered.
Durrani's lawyers admit their client was "obviously intoxicated" before boarding the plane at O'Hare Airport and that flight attendants, who didn't know he'd mixed his booze with psychiatric medicine, were partially responsible for the incident after serving him at least four more alcoholic beverages.
The defense claims that the defendant has gone sober, cooperates with mental health doctors, secured a writing job at E!, continues to pursue an acting career and, because he's apologetic, deserved a punishment of home detention for time already served.
Assistant United States Attorney Ann Luotto Wolf viewed Durrani's conduct as recklessly threatening to the safety of the flight heading to Orange County's John Wayne Airport and requested a term of two years in prison.
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Inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana this month, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter decided, however, to hand Durrani a year in custody at a federal, residential re-entry facility in Southern California followed by supervised probation for three years. The defendant must also submit to drug testing and cooperate in psychiatric sessions.