"It just looks like a penis pump mom"
CHICAGO - A Cook County judge has decided there is enough evidence to prosecute a man who says an airport security guard misheard him when she thought he said that a sexual device in his backpack was actually a bomb.
Mardin Amin claims he actually told the guard the small, black object was a "pump" — as in a penis pump.
Amin's attorney said her client was embarrassed to explain the object in front of his mother, who was traveling with him, so he whispered. The guard misunderstood, and thought he said "bomb," according to defense attorney Eileen O'Neill-Burke.
"His mother is standing there so, under his breath, he says, 'It's a pump. Put it away. Put it away,'" O'Neill-Burke told The Associated Press on Thursday. The guard asked him again and he repeated that the object was a pump, the attorney said.
O'Neill-Burke added that Amin, an Iraqi, has a thick accent and she herself had trouble understanding him until he brought the pump to her office and showed it to her. She said she recently learned that Arabic speakers sometimes have trouble distinguishing the sounds "p" and "b."
However, Judge Gerald Winiecki decided there was sufficient evidence for the case to move forward after the female security guard testified that she heard Amin "clearly" say the word bomb on Aug. 16 at O'Hare International Airport.
Amin, 29, of Skokie, is charged with felony disorderly conduct and faces up to three years in prison if convicted. He was released on $75,000 bond and is due back in court Sept. 13. O'Neill-Burke said he will plead not guilty then.
Amin told the Chicago Sun-Times after the hearing that security officials did not give him a chance to explain the misunderstanding, that he would never use the word "bomb" while going through a security checkpoint, and does not consider a penis pump an unusual object to own.
"It's normal," he said. "Half of America they use it."