Steven Slater's Mom -- The Passenger Was 'Malicious'

8/10/2010 11:05 AM PDT

Steve Slater's Mom -- The Passenger Was 'Malicious'

Steven Slater -- the JetBlue flight attendant who is in hot water after a run-in with a passenger -- told his mom the woman he struggled with "maliciously" hit him in the head.

We spoke with Cynthia Susanne -- who was married to Steven in the early 90s and remains "great friends" with him.  Cynthia spoke with Slater's mom, Diane, yesterday for more than two hours.  She says Diane, who also spoke with Steven yesterday, told her the passenger in question insisted on getting her luggage before the plane came to a complete stop. 

As the plane taxied, Steven "politely asked the woman to close the overhead and sit."  According to Diane, the passenger responded with an "f**k you" and began defiantly pulling her bag from the overhead.  Slater told his mom he tried shutting the bin, when she "maliciously" pulled the bin down, striking Steven in the head.

Cynthia says Steven's mom was clear -- it was the bin, not luggage, that whacked Steven in the head, causing a cut.

The family is pissed off that a passenger on the plane is making the rounds on TV -- someone they say who was toward the back of the plane and never even saw the incident.