Student pleads not guilty in airport security breach


NEWARK, N.J. — The attorney for a graduate student accused of violating security at Newark Liberty International Airport may ask the court to suppress a videotaped statement his client made to police when he was arrested.

His client, Rutgers graduate student Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway, pleaded not guilty to a defiant trespass charge in Newark Municipal Court on Tuesday. The charge is related to a Jan. 3
incident in which he allegedly ducked under a rope and crossed into a
secured area of the airport to spend time with his girlfriend before
her flight.

Chief Municipal Prosecutor Marvin Adames said he has three videos. One includes a confession Jiang gave Port Authority police following his arrest on Jan. 8.

The other videos include still and video shots from
the airport, Adames said. Jiang was arrested after a videotape of a man
ducking under a rope to meet a woman was released to the public.

Jiang’s attorney, Eric Bruce, on Tuesday asked Judge Richard E. A. Nunes for time to review a statement Jiang made on video.

“I’m considering a motion to suppress,” Bruce told
Nunes. “There was a statement made by Mr. Jiang. … I have to further
evaluate the videotape to see whether there is any basis for a motion
to suppress.”

The case has been adjourned until March 9.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the federal Transportation Security Administration
confirmed the federal agency had been conducting an administrative
investigation of the event, and has the ability to levy a fine against

“TSA has to ability to level civil penalties against individuals” who violate security, said spokeswoman Ann Davis. “The event will be reviewed and TSA will determine whether a civil penalty is warranted.”

The security breach forced a six-hour shutdown of Terminal C at the airport, as well as the rescreening of passengers.

Bruce placed the blame for the incident on a
Terminal C security guard, saying the shutdown and inconvenience would
not have happened had the guard not left his station.

Jiang was “just a lovesick young man who made a mistake,” Bruce told reporters. “All Haisong Jiang wanted to do is kiss his girlfriend goodbye one last time at the
airport. … He never meant to disrupt any flights. He never intended
to inconvenience anyone, and he certainly poses no threat to national

Davis said the guard remains on paid, administrative leave pending an investigation.

Jiang appeared calm in the courtroom, carrying a
gray backpack, but seemed unnerved by the swarm of journalists
following him out of the court.

He declined to comment before his attorney escorted him into a car.

Bruce said that he hopes to work with the
Prosecutor’s Office and the court to resolve the case, preferably with
Jiang getting community service in a hospital, soup kitchen or other
facility in Newark.

Adames said Jiang could face a fine of up to $500, 30 days in jail or community service — or all of that – if convicted on the defiant trespass charge.

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