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Nishal accepts plea deal, to be deported - report

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Nishal Sankat during his recent appearance in the Brevard County Jail courtroom two weeks ago.

Nishal Sankat, the Trinidad and Tobago national who has been charged with trying to steal a plane at the Melbourne Airport in Florida, is coming home.

A report by Fox 35 News in the United States says Sankat is taking a plea deal which allows him to leave prison and leave the country.

The Orlando Melbourne Airport was placed on lockdown almost two weeks ago when Sankat boarded an American Airlines plane and tried to attempt a take-off.

The report says he's being allowed to return to Trinidad and Tobago after pleading guilty to burglary. It’s part of a deal made after the FBI and police determined Sankat acted alone and suffered from depression and mental health issues, Fox 35 News reported.

“Certainly he was in a very delicate state of mind mentally. He was under a lot of stress,” said his attorney Greg Eisenmenger.

“He had decided to do something dramatic in order to illustrate to his family and friends that he needed help.”

The report states that in exchange for pleading guilty the charges of theft and trespassing were dropped and Sankat will serve no more time in jail.

When asked if this was enough of a punishment, his attorney told Fox 35 News, “I think that the plea agreement was an appropriate plea agreement considering the circumstances.”

There are some consequences, however, as Sankat is losing his pilot’s license and visa. He’ll be deported back to Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow.

His name will also be added to the US No Fly list, the report states, adding that now that he’s a convicted felon he’ll never be allowed back in the US.

His attorney says for Sankat, it’s worth it to return home and get the help he needs.

“As you can imagine, his parents were quite surprised and shocked by the whole proceeding. His whole family's been very supportive of him,” said Eisenmenger.

Meanwhile, the Florida Today newspaper is reporting that the 22-year-old part-time Florida Tech student, who was studying aviation management, must also pay US$909 to cover the cost of the Melbourne Airport Police Department investigation.

"The plea was part of an agreement reached after an extensive investigation by Melbourne Police, Melbourne Airport Police, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the FBI found Sankat acted alone and was suffering from depression and mental health issues when he boarded the American Airlines jet on Sept. 20, 2018," the State Attorney's Office wrote in a news release.

Sankat had no prior criminal history.

Sankat was jailed on a suicide watch. He had petitioned to graduate from Florida Tech in 2019.


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