Astronaut’s Lawyer Wants Evidence Tossed

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The New York Sun

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Former astronaut Lisa Nowak didn’t wear diapers during her 950-mile road trip to confront a romantic rival, her lawyer said Friday, disputing one of the more bizarre details to emerge from the NASA love triangle.

“The biggest lie in this preposterous tale that has been told is that my client drove from Houston, Texas, to Orlando, Florida, nonstop, wearing a diaper,” Donald Lykkebak said after filing motions to suppress evidence in Ms. Nowak’s criminal case. “That is an absolute fabrication.”

The tidbit that Nowak wore diapers during her trip was written in the police report filed after Ms. Nowak’s arrest in February.

“I then asked Mrs. Nowak why she had baby diapers,” according to the charging affidavit written by Officer William “Chris” Becton. “Mrs. Nowak said that she didn’t want to stop and use the restroom, so she used the diapers to collect her urine.”
MOThe diaper detail became fodder for late-night TV comics and talk radio and even inspired an episode of the NBC show “Law & Order.”

“It jeopardizes our ability to have a fair trial when the accused is the butt of jokes,” Mr. Lykkebak said.

Mr. Lykkebak waited until after he had taken a deposition from the police officer – the interview was Thursday – to dispute the statement about the diapers in the police report, said Marti Mackenzie, a spokeswoman for the defense attorney.

An Orlando police spokeswoman, Sgt. Barb Jones, said she couldn’t comment about the case specifically. She said a court would determine the accuracy of the facts.

Ms. Nowak, 44, was charged with attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault in a confrontation at Orlando International Airport with Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of former astronaut Bill Oefelein. Mr. Oefelein told detectives he had a two-year relationship with Nowak but ended it some time after he started a relationship with Ms. Shipman.

Ms. Nowak has pleaded not guilty and her trial is set for September. She was dismissed from the astronaut corps a month after her arrest.

Mr. Oefelein was dismissed from the corps at the beginning of June.

Mr. Lykkebak filed a motion asking a judge to prevent statements that Ms. Nowak made to police from being entered into evidence, claiming she had not been properly advised of her constitutional rights.

The defense attorney also asked to have a transcript of the police interview sealed from the public, contending the media would use it for entertainment value and taint potential jurors.

Circuit Judge Marc Lubet said he wanted Mr. Lykkebak to present more case law supporting his argument before he would issue a ruling. The judge said such an order might be futile since prosecutors likely were going to bring up aspects from the transcript during hearings.

Mr. Lykkebak also asked that evidence found in Ms. Nowak’s car not be allowed to be introduced in court, saying it was seized without a search warrant. Police officers recovered maps to Ms. Shipman’s home, large garbage bags, latex gloves and Ms. Shipman’s flight information.

The New York Sun

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