A Yemeni man who disrupted a San Francisco-bound flight was portrayed by US prosecutors as a dangerous and erratic passenger who tried to barge into the cockpit twice, did not carry any luggage and yelled "God is great" in Arabic.
Assistant US attorney Elise Becker said Rageh Al-Murisi, 28, was carrying several valid and expired forms of identification from New York and California, 47 dollars in cash and two post-dated cheques totalling 13,000 dollars in his wallet. One cheque was made out to himself, she said, but she did not specify where the other was from.
Ms Becker also said he did not tell his relatives in California that he was travelling there.
Al-Murisi is charged with one count of interfering with flight crew members and attendants as pilots on American Airlines Flight 1561 were preparing to land in San Francisco on Sunday, one week after the death of al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden at the hands of the US military that has raised fears of a possible retaliation. "He attempted to enter the cockpit right before a critical part of the flight," Ms Becker said in prosecution arguments to withhold bail for Al-Murisi.
In the court affidavit filed on Monday, air marshal Paul Howard said after being told the cockpit door was not the toilet, Al-Murisi made eye contact with a crew member, lowered his shoulder and rammed the door.
The crew member told Mr Howard he then got between Al-Murisi and the door, but Al-Murisi kept yelling and pushing forward in an attempt to open it, according to the affidavit.
Court documents say Al-Murisi repeatedly yelled "Allahu Akbar", Arabic for "God is great", and tried twice to open the cockpit door before being subdued by a crew member and several passengers, including a former Secret Service agent and retired San Mateo police officer Larry Wright.
The flight landed safely at San Francisco International Airport, but not without frightening passengers who became alarmed as he yelled unintelligibly and tried to rush the cockpit.
Ms Becker said that the same Arabic phrase was uttered by the hijackers of Flight 93 as they took over the plane that eventually went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11 2001, and by a Nigerian who allegedly tried to detonate explosives in his underwear on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009.
Al-Murisi's lawyer, assistant federal public defender Elizabeth Falk, argued that her client was not a public danger, but Judge James Larson disagreed and denied bail. He planned to revisit the issue on Friday.