Metro bus passenger arraigned on hate crime charge

SEATTLE -- A man accused of a violent hate crime on board a Metro bus pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the felony crime of malicious harassment.

Prosecutors say Andrew Belasco starting shouting anti-Arab slurs at two local Saudi Arabian college students for no reason, then allegedly punched one victim in the chest when the bus driver asked him to get off the bus.

According to documents, Belasco appeared to have been drinking and threatened to sexually assault the victim's mother. He also asked the students why they came to the United States.

The alleged rant, according to prosecutors, was laced with racial insults and profanity.

Belasco remains behind bars and his next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 5. The judge also requested a no contact order between him and the victims in the case.