Platinum Jet Trial Coming to a Close
In the ongoing trial of Platinum Jet executives in Newark, N.J., a U.S. district judge took the unusual step last week of dismissing charges against one of the three men–former director of maintenance Brien McKenzie–saying the prosecution failed to prove its case against him. Closing arguments in the continuing fraud and conspiracy case against former Platinum Jet president and CEO Michael Brassington and v-p Paul Brassington took place today. A lawyer for Michael Brassington argued in his closing statement that the U.S. government’s fraud charges are based on flawed testimony, saying that the witnesses–all former Platinum Jet employees–changed their stories to align with the government’s case. Pilot John Kimberling is being tried separately in U.S. District Court in southern Florida. Three others from now-defunct Platinum Jet have already pleaded guilty in separate proceedings and await sentencing–pilot Francis Vieira, managing member Andrew Budhan and director of charters Joseph Singh. Fort Lauderdale-based Platinum Jet was operating a chartered Challenger 600 that crashed while failing to lift off from Teterboro (N.J.) Airport in February 2005.