The criminal trial of the American pilots of the Embraer Legacy jet that collided with a Gol airlines Boeing 737 over the Amazon in 2006 moved forward this month when the judge decided he didn’t need to hear seven defense witnesses.
The judge deemed their testimony dispensable because they were either passengers on the Legacy who lacked technical knowledge or aviation specialists who hadn’t witnessed the episode, according to Joel Weiss, attorney for the pilots. “We’re confident that a responsible appellate court will reverse this illogical decision,” Weiss said.
All 154 people on the airliner died in the accident, but the Legacy’s seven occupants survived. Among them was New York Times travel columnist and Business Jet Traveler contributor Joe Sharkey, who was on assignment in Brazil for BJT at the time of the incident and later wrote about it for the magazine.