Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)’s niece was recently arrested after officials said she became unruly on a Spirit Airlines plane before it could even take off.
Just before 6 a.m Thanksgiving, Shannon Epstein, 25, boarded a Spirit Airlines plane bound for New Jersey from New Orleans. However, after the plane cleared the gate but before it could take off, Epstein allegedly began causing a scene in which he accused a Latina family sitting nearby of “smuggling cocaine.”
Because of the wild allegations, airport officials decided to divert the plane back to the gate so Epstein could be removed. However, she reportedly refused to cooperate. When deputies tried to force her off the plane, she became “extremely combative,” said Captain Jason Rivarde of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
During a scuffle with six MPs at Louis Armstrong International Airport Epstein is said to have caused multiple injuries. She was accused of biting an officer on the arm so badly that she bruised the skin. She was also accused of kicking another officer in the groin. Both were treated by paramedics.
There are allegations that she also spat on officials. Officers eventually restrained her by handcuffing her to a wheelchair, although she reportedly continued to try to bite and hurl obscenities at her.
Witnesses also claimed that during the incident Epstein threatened that the officers involved would soon lose their jobs or go to jail themselves because of their powerful connections. She reportedly boasted about being related to a friend of former President Donald Trump.
Epstein was charged at Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with six counts of battery against a police officer, three of disturbing the peace, one of resisting a violent arrest and one of staying after bans. She was released from custody later that day after posting $10,750 bail.
She is scheduled to appear in a Jefferson Parish court in late January, although most cases related to an airplane or airport incident go to federal court, Rivarde said.
Christie did not respond to requests for comment from the New York Post or NOLA.com.
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