US man guilty of sexually abusing woman on flight

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NEWARK, New Jersey — A northern New Jersey man has been convicted of sexually abusing a sleeping woman on a cross-country flight last year.

Jurors returned the verdict against 49-year-old Bawer Aksal on Friday, their second day of deliberations. The Turkish-born American citizen was convicted of sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.

The woman testified under an alias that she awoke on the Phoenix-to-Newark flight last August to find Aksal with one hand inside her blouse and the other inside her underwear.

Aksal didn’t testify but told authorities the woman made unwanted sexual advances toward him and forced his hands to touch her.

On Thursday, jurors had asked to review testimony by a man who sat next to Aksal on the flight and by an FBI agent who interviewed the defendant.

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