The U.S. air piracy charge carries sentence of between 20 years and life behind bars.
Potts did not enter a plea at Thursday’s brief hearing. An arraignment was set for next Wednesday as well as a hearing on whether Potts should be released on bail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis said she will oppose bail, contending that Potts is a risk of fleeing prosecution and a danger to the community if released.
After these preliminary matters, the case will be handled by U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum in Fort Lauderdale, herself a former federal prosecutor.
Potts, who is originally from New Jersey, described himself in interviews as the “homesick hijacker” and said he decided to return to face the charges to bring closure to the case.
“I’m not the same person I was,” Potts said in an October interview with The Associated Press in Cuba. “The time has come to bring this thing to an end. I know it’s a risk, but it’s a necessary risk. I’m hoping that something good can come out of this.”