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ATLANTA, Ga. -- The northern Idaho man accused of slapping a toddler on a plane earlier this year will plead not guilty in federal court.

60-year-old Joe Hundley appeared in federal court Wednesday in Atlanta. His lawer says Hundley admitted to using a racial slur toward the 19-month-old boy, on a flight to Atlanta in February. She explained he regretted what he said -- and that he was in a terrible situation because of the imminent death of his son.

He was traveling to Atlanta from Minneapolis to decide to take his only child and son off of life support, Hundley's lawyer Marcia Shein said. He was under a great deal of stress, was very grieved, and he'd been up for the prior 24 hours. When this happened on the plane, he said something inappropriate to Mrs. Bennett he shouldn't have said, even in his darkest hour. We hope for Mrs. Bennett's sake and our client's sake that everyone will forgive him for what he said and to heal.

Hundley, however, denies slapping the child and will dispute the charge in court.

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