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Flight attendant who deployed emergency chute quits job

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Flight attendant Steven Slater officially quits his job
  • He became famous for leaving a plane by the emergency chute
  • That departure was reportedly sparked by an argument with a passenger

New York (CNN) -- You might have thought that he had already made it abundantly clear that he wasn't coming back, but the JetBlue flight attendant who famously departed a plane via the emergency chute last month has formally quit his job, his attorney said Monday.

JetBlue announced over the weekend that Steven Slater no longer worked for the airline. Airline spokeswoman Jenny Dervin told CNN on Saturday that the separation occurred last week, but declined to elaborate how Slater and the company parted ways.

Slater's lawyer, Daniel Horwitz, said his client resigned his position.

The flight attendant became a hero to some after an August incident when, authorities said, he grabbed some beer and triggered an inflatable emergency chute to leave a plane at a JFK Airport terminal in New York, reportedly after arguing with a passenger.

As of Sunday, Slater had amassed more than 210,000 "fans" on a public Facebook page.

But he'll be in court Tuesday. Slater has pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief -- both felonies -- and criminal trespass. If convicted, he could face a maximum of seven years in prison.

The drama on Slater's last flight may have started well before takeoff.

"A number of passengers were competing for overhead carry-on luggage areas," said attorney Howard Turman, a Legal Aid lawyer initially representing Slater, last month. "With great difficulty, they were shoving the bags around, attempting to get it in. Steven came over to assist and either the bag or the overhead (bin door) hit him in the head and at that point he suffered an injury."

Turman has also said a woman "started cursing and -- based on the information -- slammed the overhead luggage bin on his head."

After various exchanges with the woman and a crew member, some passengers said, Slater used the plane's public address system for a farewell message that included profanity, and grabbed some beer from the beverage cart before deploying the emergency slide and leaving.

Turman has sharply denied a JetBlue passenger's assertion that the flight attendant instigated the confrontation.

JetBlue removed Slater from duty following the incident and launched an internal investigation.

CNN's Allan Chernoff and Tom Watkins contributed to this report.