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Metro Digest

Local News in Brief : Near-Hit 'Innocent' Plea

November 10, 1987

A pilot accused of illegally flying over President Reagan's ranch and nearly colliding with the President's helicopter pleaded not guilty Monday in Los Angeles federal court to charges of lying to federal investigators.

Ralph Myers, 33, whose pilot's license was revoked after authorities said his small plane came within 250 feet of the helicopter on Aug. 13, predicted that he would be acquitted on charges that he lied when he allegedly told authorities he strayed into restricted airspace because of problems with his contact lenses.

"I think once all the evidence is in, it will prove I'm not guilty, because I'm not," said Myers, an Army private stationed in Ft. Lewis, Wash.

Myers' lawyers said they have appealed the Federal Aviation Administration's emergency revocation of his license. Attorney Marc Goldstein said Myers' plane never came closer than 1,000 feet to the President's aircraft and that the incident "was blown completely out of proportion."

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