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Long IslandCrime

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CENTRAL ISLIP/Pilots give video testimony

Two Long Island pilots involved in a 2006 midair collision over the Amazon are scheduled to give video testimony Wednesday and Thursday in Central Islip in the Brazilian criminal trial in which they are defendants.

Joseph Lepore, 46, of Bay Shore, and Jan Paladino, 38, of Westhampton Beach, are to testify at the U.S. attorney's office in the federal courthouse beginning at 11 a.m.

Lepore and Paladino were transporting a new Brazilian-built Embraer Legacy 600 purchased by ExcelAire of Ronkonkoma to Long Island when the aircraft collided with a Gol Boeing 737 on Sept. 29, 2006. Although they were able to safely land their damaged plane, all 154 people aboard the Boeing died when it crashed into the jungle.

Last month, Brazilian federal Judge Murilo Mendes scheduled the pilots to testify by video conferencing from his country's consulate in Washington. The pilots' attorneys persuaded the judge to allow their testimony to be given at the Long Island courthouse, said their American attorney, Joel Weiss of Uniondale.

They will be questioned by Mendes and a Brazilian prosecutor, who will be in Brazil, and their Brazilian defense attorney, Theo Dias, who will be in Central Islip.

The pilots face two charges of unintentionally endangering an aircraft, which is similar to involuntary manslaughter.

-- BILL BLEYER

VALLEY STREAM/Student assaulted, robbed

Fifth Squad detectives are looking for the person who robbed a high school student of cash and a cell phone Monday in Valley Stream, Nassau County police said yesterday.

At about 7:35 p.m., a 16-year-old student was walking home from Valley Stream High School when he was hit from behind on the jaw and knocked to the ground at the corner of Central and West Jamaica avenues, police said in a news release.

Police said the youth did not see who hit him. The assailant took cash and a cell phone and ran away.

-- GARY DYMSKI

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