R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck denied prosecutors' suggestions that he lied about taking a sleeping pill on a trans-Atlantic flight to avoid accusations of drunkenness after his alleged rampage on the pl

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck denied prosecutors' suggestions that he lied about taking a sleeping pill on a trans-Atlantic flight to avoid accusations of drunkenness after his alleged rampage on the plane. In his second day on the stand in London's Isleworth Crown Court, Buck said today (March 21) that he couldn't explain why he didn't mention downing the tablet with a glass of wine when police interviewed him in a cell at London's Heathrow airport.

The 45-year-old, who lives in Seattle, denies charges of being drunk on an aircraft, assault, and damaging British Airways crockery. Prosecutors say Buck drank about 15 glasses of wine in the first three hours of the 10-hour flight from Seattle to London last April. They say he became increasingly unruly, staggering up the aisle of the Boeing 747 and assaulting two cabin crew members.

Questioned by prosecutor David Bate, the musician testified that he hadn't thought of mentioning the sleeping pill to police.

"It didn't really occur to me. I felt scared, kind of terrified, kind of foggy," Buck said. "I was not lying. I was just trying to deal with a very difficult situation. I didn't know exactly what was going through my mind at the time."

Asked why he was "economical with the truth" about the medication, Buck replied, "I don't know, sir."

Bate suggested to the musician that he had invented the story about the pill "to explain what would otherwise be attributable to drunkenness." Buck replied, "That is not so, sir."


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