Conrad Hilton, Paris Hilton’s younger brother and an heir to the hotel fortune, was sentenced Tuesday to probation, community service and fines for causing a disruption aboard an international flight last summer.
Hilton, 21, was ordered to serve three years of probation — during which he must complete 750 hours of community service and undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment — and pay a $5,000 fine for his meltdown aboard a British Airways flight from London to Los Angeles last July 31.
An enraged Hilton was restrained and handcuffed by flight attendants after an outburst in which he called fellow passengers “peasants” and accused the crew of “taking the peasants’ side,” according to an affidavit prepared by an FBI agent who investigated the disturbance.
“I apologize for my behavior, which was completely inexcusable,” Hilton told the court. “I can assure you it will never happen ever again.”
Hilton pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor count of “simple assault,” which carries the possibility of a six-month jail sentence.
During the nearly 11-hour flight, Hilton physically threatened two flight attendants and smoked marijuana and cigarettes in an airplane lavatory, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Schwab said.
Such disruptions on flights are “an all too common offense in this district,” the prosecutor said, adding that Hilton showed “little or no remorse” after he was arrested.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne H. Segal told Hilton that his actions that day were “a sign of serious challenges,” and he should recognize that his substance abuse issues pose “a very serious health problem.”
“You battle drug addiction, like so many,” the judge said. “Despite coming from a wealthy family, other people in your position fail. You won’t get that many more chances.”
As part of his probation, Hilton must take up to eight drug tests a month, which could lead to residential treatment if he reverts to drug use, Segal said.
“You need to stay sober for a long time,” the judge said. “I hope this is a turning point.”
When he pleaded guilty, the heir told the judge he was seeing a psychiatrist/drug counselor weekly; had attended rehab programs, including a “dual-diagnosis program”; entered “psych wards”; and was taking medication for the “psychotic breakdown.”
According to the affidavit, Hilton — who was flying business class — told the co-pilot, “If you wanna square up to me bro, then bring it on and I will … fight you.”
Witnesses heard Hilton mumbling to himself, then yelling obscenities and threatening crew members, the affidavit states.
Hilton — grandson of hotel billionaire Conrad Hilton — began punching the bulkhead of the plane close to an attendant’s face, according to the affidavit.
When Hilton fell asleep, “the captain authorized crew members to restrain him to his seat for the descent and he was ultimately handcuffed to his seat,” according to the document.
Hilton’s lawyer, Robert Shapiro, said his client suffered a bad reaction to a sleeping pill, which caused his behavior on the flight.
In court today, Shapiro, who lost a son as a result of drug addiction, choked up while talking to the judge.
Calling Hilton’s in-flight disruption an “isolated incident,” the attorney said his client wished to “extend his apologies” to the passengers, crew and others who were impacted by the on-board commotion.
The defendant’s father, real estate executive Richard Hilton, also addressed the judge.
“I truly thank you for your thoughtful words — and I hope he listened,” the elder Hilton said. “We didn’t raise him to act in this manner.”
Hilton was arrested in a separate case last August after a high-speed chase that ended with his 2013 BMW colliding with a car and a big rig near Cathedral City, leaving him with a broken hand.
He was charged with felony reckless driving and evasion of a police officer, and is expected in Riverside Superior Court in Indio July 14. He could be sentenced to three years behind bars if found guilty of all the charges in the case, officials said.
— City News Service
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