Ex-US Senator Alfonse D'Amato escorted off plane for making a commotion in Fort Lauderdale

Posted at 4:12 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 16:12:32-05

NEW YORK (AP) -- Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York was escorted off a plane for making a commotion after a 6 1/2-hour delay.

The incident occurred Monday night in Fort Lauderdale.

A witness told the New York Post that passengers were already cranky when the JetBlue crew asked people who'd paid for extra legroom to switch seats because of weight and balance issues.

The 79-year-old Republican ex-senator was in a regular seat and led a chant, "Make them move."

Video shows D'Amato saying, "They're throwing me off the plane because I complained about what they were doing."

D'Amato's spokesman says he was sleep-deprived after visiting an ailing friend.

JetBlue says passengers can be removed if there's a situation that could escalate.

D'Amato represented New York from 1981 to 1999.