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No Federal Charges for Man in Airport Breach

November 20, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

A man who dashed past guards and went the wrong way through a passenger exit at the nation's busiest airport will not face federal charges, prosecutors said.

Michael Lasseter's actions prompted officials at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport to ground flights and force thousands of passengers and employees from the terminal.

However, he did not violate any federal laws because he did not board an airplane and because the guards are not federal agents, said Patrick Crosby, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Lasseter was charged Friday with disorderly conduct, which carries a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. He was released on bond Saturday.

Lasseter, 32, a financial executive, told police he had passed the security screening when he arrived at the airport but returned to the terminal to find his camera bag. Then, rather than go through security again, he hurried down an up escalator at the passenger exit to circumvent long lines, police said.

"I deeply regret the inconvenience to a number of people that was caused Friday--all arising from my concern for my son waiting for me at the gate," Lasseter, of Gainesville, Ga., said in an interview Monday with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Clayton County Solicitor General Keith Martin said Lasseter could face additional or different charges pending further investigation.

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