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Hawaii man to be sentenced for hoax report of hijacker on Alaska Airlines flight

A Hawaii man who pleaded guilty to falsely reporting a possible airplane hijacking should have to pay for fuel used by Oregon National Guard fighter jets that escorted the flight, federal prosecutors say.

Timothy David Hershman of Kona is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court in Honolulu.

He pleaded guilty to calling the FBI last year saying another man was going to hijack an Alaska Airlines flight. Authorities determined the other man was aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Kona to Seattle. After questioning him for nearly two hours, authorities deemed the call was a hoax.

Hershman confessed to making the call because the man had allegedly placed fish guts in his truck, prosecutors said.

A judge is expected to rule Thursday on the sentencing request. Prosecutors want Hershman to reimburse the government about $72,000 for fuel and other expenses, such as maintenance and flight crew pay, for the two F-15 fighter jets that were dispatched to escort the flight when the hoax call was made.

According to the motion by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar, the Oregon National Guard "scrambled" to escort the commercial plane in a mission that took nearly four hours.

Assistant Federal Defender Alexander Silvert opposes the reimbursement request. He argues in a court filing that one reason Hershman shouldn't have to pay is because the expenses were "operational costs" similar to "costs a government would incur in sending out law enforcement officers to deal with a bomb threat, a bank robbery, a gambling den, or any other criminal activity."

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Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa.

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