ATLANTA (AP) - A man who pleaded guilty to slapping a crying toddler on a flight is due in federal court this morning for sentencing.
Joe Rickey Hundley pleaded guilty in October after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Hundley used a racial slur to refer to the 19-month-old black boy and then hit him under the right eye as the flight from Minneapolis began its descent to the Atlanta airport last February.
The misdemeanor simple assault charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $100,000. Prosecutors have recommended six months in prison, but Hundley reserved his right to argue for a lower sentence.
Hundley was president of an aerospace company in Hayden, Idaho, but lost his job following enormous media coverage of the in-flight incident, his defense lawyers said in a court filing. Hundley has since moved to Leland, N.C., according to a court filing. He has been able to find only sporadic, part-time work since then, he told the judge.
The judge isn't required to follow the recommendations in the plea agreement.