By Calvin Palmer
A British woman today pleaded guilty in Maine to assault after scuffling with flight attendants aboard a flight from Los Angeles to London, which was diverted to Bangor.
Galina Rusanova, 54, of London, punched and kicked attendants on a United Airlines flight on April 29 after downing a concoction of prescription drugs, wine and liquid hand soap.
She admitted pushing a purser, kicking one flight attendant and biting the ankle of another. In a plea agreement with prosecutors, the more serious charge of interference with a flight crew was dropped.
She was sentenced to time served or 22 days.
It is expected she will be escorted back to London in two or three days by U.S. immigration officials.
Siberian-born Rusanova wept often during her 40-minute appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk.
“Please believe me, it was a mistake,” she told the judge. “If I had imagined the result would be so bad and so dramatic, I never would have mixed pills and wine. I’m sorry and ashamed. This is so embarrassing at my age.
“I never could have imagined this would happen,” she continued. “I went to Los Angeles looking for happiness, and now I’m here. I’ve been punished enough. Don’t punish me more, please.”
Rusanova, who lives on government disability support went to Los Angeles to meet a man with whom she had been communicating on the Internet. Her fear of flying apparently led her to mix pills and wine, according to court documents.
She moved to London in the late 1980s and became a British citizen.