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Fla. Mailman Who Flew Gyrocopter Onto Capitol Lawns To Appear In Court

The Florida mailman man who landed a gyrocopter on the lawns of the Capitol last month will appear in court today. Douglas Mark Hughes was charged Wednesday and faces up to 9 1/2 years in prison.

NPR's Peter Overby reported on the charges against Hughes:

"[F]ederal law treats violation of national defense airspace as a misdemeanor. The grand jury charged him three times, for flying through three zones. There's a fourth misdemeanor as well — operating a vehicle falsely labeled as [a] postal carrier.' The two felony charges are flying without an airman's certification and flying an aircraft not registered with the Federal Aviation Administration."

As we previously reported, Hughes said he wanted to deliver letters to members of Congress highlighting the need for campaign-finance reform. He reiterated those comments in an interview with NPR's Overby. Here's what he said:

"The reason I did it, although I brought 535 letters to Congress, the reason was to get a message to the American people — not that there's a problem with Congress but that there are solutions to the problem. Ninety-one percent of Americans know that Congress isn't working for them."

Hughes, 61, was arrested after his April 15 flight from Gettysburg, Pa., to Washington. He was subsequently released and placed under house arrest in Ruskin, Fla.

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