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Fake Pilot Found Guilty of Lying

January 17, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ An Egyptian man who flew to Kennedy International Airport with a fake pilot’s uniform and license was convicted Thursday of lying to agents investigators about his plans to attend aviation school.

But jurors acquitted Wael Abdel Rahman Kishk on a second charge of trying to impersonate a pilot by carrying a forged document.

Kishk faces up to five years in prison on the federal counts of making false statements. A sentencing date wasn’t immediately set.

Kishk, 21, was detained at Kennedy Airport in New York on Sept. 19 after arriving on a flight from Barcelona, Spain, that had originated in Cairo. During a routine search of his luggage, immigration agents discovered a fake Federal Aviation Administration document purportedly giving him medical clearance to fly.

Prosecutors alleged Kishk wanted to use the fake document to pass himself off as a pilot. They also accused him of lying about why he was in the country: to attend aviation classes. He instead claimed he was bound for business school, said prosecutor Dwight Holton.

The FBI, fearing a second wave of terror attacks, asked Kishk ``over and over again, ’Do you intend to take flight lessons?‴ Holton said in closing arguments. ``Over and over again, he denied it.″

Defense attorney Michael Schneider told the jury his client was guilty of nothing more than ``poor judgment. ... But you don’t convict people of crimes because they don’t do the smartest things.″

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