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American to plead guilty in '84 Cuba hijacking

April 29, 2014
Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — An American who returned from Cuba decades after hijacking a jetliner to the communist island is scheduled to plead guilty in South Florida federal court.

U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum set a plea change hearing Tuesday afternoon for 57-year-old William Potts, who had previously pleaded not guilty. Potts said he returned last year from Cuba to resolve the U.S. case.

Prosecutors have now charged Potts with kidnapping and dropped an air piracy charge, which carried a mandatory sentence of at least 20 years. Potts is seeking credit for 13 years he served in a Cuban prison.

The FBI says Potts claimed he had explosives when he hijacked a New York-to-Miami flight to Havana in 1984. He described himself then as a black militant calling himself "Lt. Spartacus."



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