Joseph Emerson, the off-duty pilot accused of trying to shut down the engines of a packed commercial flight in October, on Wednesday was granted release pending trial on his federal charge of interfering with a flight crew and attendants.
As conditions of his release, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman ordered Emerson not to board an operable airplane or possess any controlled substances, including Psilocybin, more commonly known as psychedelic or magic mushrooms that he and his lawyers said he had taken two days before the flight and led to his unusual behavior.
He also was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and counseling and submit to regular drug urinalysis tests.
Emerson, 44, remains in custody at the downtown Portland jail, awaiting his arraignment Thursday on a new indictment returned this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The new indictment reduced the severity of allegations he faced, from attempted murder charges to 83 misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, plus one count of first-degree endangering an aircraft, a minor felony.
His lawyers anticipate his release from jail by the end of the week.