HOUSTON (FOX 26) - “In 1984 I won the miss Venezuela pageant,” said Carmen Maria Montile Lechin.
That same year Carmen was the second runner up in the Miss Universe pageant.
Following her June 2013 arrest, headlines accused Carmen of attacking a male flight attendant in a drunken rage after being denied a pillow.
“Look beyond the 'beauty queen gets arrested' headline, there’s a wider story here,” said Carmen’s attorney Zach Fertitta.
It was that story a federal jury believed during the three day trial. Carmen was facing a possible 10 year prison sentence from charges stemming from a redeye flight from Houston to Colombia.
Carmen’s teenage daughter and her estranged husband were also on the plane.
“In the moment when it happened I was still confused why they arrested her on the plane in the first place,” said Carmen’s daughter.
United Airlines flight attendant Samuel Oliver accused Carmen of assaulting him. But Carmen testified she’s the one who got assaulted but not by the flight attendant.
“I was assaulted in that airplane,” Carmen said. “The assault started by my husband when he slapped me.”
Not so says Dick Deguerin, attorney for Dr. Alex Lechin Carmen’s estranged husband. While Deguerin admits the couple’s on-going divorce has been tumultuous he says Alex has never committed domestic abuse.
During the trial, Carmen’s attorneys say they pointed out how Alex kept calling the flight attendant to their first class seats.
“The flight attendant becomes more and more hysterical as the husband keeps hitting the button to the point where the flight attendant on his own decides I am going to have her arrested,” said attorney Andino Reynal. “So he goes off and recruits two passengers who were sitting on the plane."
“They wrapped me by my neck and my arm and arrested me,” Carmen said.
The jury obviously believed Carmen’s version and not the flight attendant's.
“When I heard the not guilty, I’m going to tell you it was much better than winning Miss Venezuela definitely,” Carmen said.
We contacted United Airlines for response and was told they had nothing to add to our story.