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Supposed Niece Of Chris Christie Allegedly Pulled Off Flight For Racist Comments, Assaulted Cops
Sharon Epstein, who claimed the former New Jersey governor is her uncle, was arrested after refusing to leave a flight from New Orleans on Thanksgiving.
A woman claiming to be the niece of former New Jersey governor Chris Christie was arrested on Thanksgiving Day at the New Orleans airport for allegedly assaulting several police officers dispatched to remove her from a flight.
Sharon Epstein, 25, reportedly boarded a Spirit Airlines flight from New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey around 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 24, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Once on board, she reportedly asked a family seated near her, who she thought were Latino, whether they were "smuggling cocaine," Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesperson Capt. Jason Rivarde told the paper.
The plane nonetheless closed its doors and began to taxi to the runway, when — the flight crew claimed — Epstein became increasingly irate and disruptive. At the request of the crew, the plane returned to the gate, where sheriff's deputies met them with the purpose of escorting Epstein off the plane and arresting her for her behavior after boarding, the paper reported.
The deplaning did not go as planned.
Epstein was removed from the plane but, once inside the jet bridge, "became extremely combative" when deputies attempted to place her under arrest, Rivarde told NBC News. In the ensuing melee, she allegedly kicked one deputy in the groin and bit another on his arm, breaking the skin, all while allegedly telling the arresting officers that they were going to lose their jobs or end up in jail because, she claimed, her uncle was Christie, and a friend of former President Donald Trump. (Whether Christie and Trump are currently on good terms is debatable, according to recent news reports.)
Seven deputies restrained Epstein by handcuffing her to a wheelchair before taking her to the airport security office, Rivarde told the Times-Picayune. She allegedly continued to curse at the officers and attempt to bite them after she was restrained.
All told, Epstein allegedly injured six deputies. She was booked on six counts of battery on a police officer, three counts of disturbing the peace, one count of resisting arrest by force and one count of remaining after forbidden, the paper reported.
She paid $10,750 in bail and was released from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center later that day, Rivarde told the outlets.
Christie's office has not yet responded to requests for comment from either the New Orleans paper or NBC News about the incident — or whether Epstein is a relative of his. He did tweet a Thanksgiving message around 9:40 p.m. that evening: "I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you all found the time, as I did, to take stock of all the blessings we have been granted."
Epstein is due to return to court in Jefferson Parish on Jan. 23, but Rivarde noted that most incidents that occur on planes are transferred to federal court. A search of federal court records by Oxygen.com returned no cases against Epstein as of Monday morning.