Man Invokes Trump Defense After Allegedly Groping Woman During Houston Flight

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Bruce Alexander of Tampa was nonetheless arrested and charged with abusive sexual contact when his plane reached Albuquerque from Houston.

Bruce Michael Alexander, 49, grabbed the woman at least twice during a Sunday flight from Houston to Albuquerque, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico.

He was apparently referencing the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape, on which Donald Trump could be heard bragging about grabbing women by their genitals because when you're famous "you can do anything".

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The woman assumed the first instance of touching was accidental, but she felt that when the stranger's hand made contact with her body a second time about 30 minutes later, it was done slowly and 'attentively, ' suggesting that it was deliberate. According to the publication, a female passenger claimed she fell asleep 15 minutes after take-off and woke up when she "felt movement on the right side of her sweater". She said that she observed a "hand that had thick fingers, [that] were hairy and had dirty fingernails". According to the complaint, she told him "she didn't know why he thought it was ok [to touch her] and he needed to stop". Then she asked a Southwest crew member to change her seat, and she was relocated to the rear of the plane, according to the complaint.

The woman said she had then got up and confronted the man seated behind her. Merlino was sentenced to two years in federal prison for illegal betting Wednesday and prosecutors, as with many organized crime trials, relied on informants to make their case, the Guardian reported. "You can do anything", Trump said on the tape.

Whether or not Alexander was really emboldened by Trump to commit sexual assault, or simply used Trump as a convenient excuse after getting caught, there is no denying that Trump's behavior is setting a dark example.

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In a statement to HuffPost, Southwest Airlines said that in light of the incident, the airline is "continuously reviewing and updating" the training of staff "as necessary".

Alexander is due to appear in court on Tuesday.

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