HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal Judge Richard Puglisi has sentenced Sohei Yamanouchi to a $2,500 fine and time served for assaulting a Delta Airlines flight attendant. The 65 year old Japanese citizen entered a guilty plea in Federal Court this morning. The incident happened Monday on a flight from Japan to Honolulu.
According to a criminal complaint, Yamanouchi had five glasses of wine, became disorderly and struck the flight attendant twice - once with an open hand and the other time with his fist.
Before sentencing, Yamanouchi told the judge through an interpreter that he did not hit the flight attendant but only "tapped" her to get her attention. He said he was upset because passengers and flight crew were talking loudly at the rear of the plane and he was trying to sleep on the overnight flight.
The flight attendant was not in court, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song said she had been flying for 25 years and quoted her as saying she "felt like a servant" and had "never experienced something like this" before.
Gary Singh, Yamanouchi's attorney asked for a lighter sentence, saying his client was a businessman in Japan and did not have a criminal record. He went on to say that Yamanouchi had "lost face" and was embarrassed for himself and his family.
Singh told the judge that Yamanouchi had a ticket to return to Japan on a 5:00pm flight this evening. He was originally going to stay until Sunday. Yamanouchi was in Hawaii to attend his son's wedding.