Feeds

Nowak astronaut romanta-scuffle affair: New evidence

'There was no molehill' insists lawyer

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The case of ex-spacewoman and US Navy captain Lisa Nowak grinds on. It was reported this week that her lawyers have asked that charges against her be dismissed, on the grounds that she may not in fact have done a good job of pepper-spraying a romantic adversary for the affections of a space shuttle pilot.

Here on the Reg astro-scandal desk, we've compiled a rough timeline of the events in the Nowak affair:

September 2005: Nowak and her family flee Hurricane Rita, during which journey her four-year-old twins either do or don't use some nappies in her car. A statement supplied to the Reg by Nowak's PR isn't entirely clear.

2006: Nowak flies in space as a mission specialist aboard the shuttle. Begins an affair with married space pilot Bill Oefelein. Oefelein concurrently enjoys the affections of air force officer Colleen Shipman and possibly those of his wife too.

February 2007: Nowak drives from Texas to Florida without sleep and confronts Shipman in an airport car park. Prosecutors say that she had disguised herself in a wig, trenchcoat and dark glasses, and had various items in her car including a knife, mallet, surgical tubing and rubbish bags. They say that Nowak, on failing to gain entry to Shipman's car, pepper-sprayed her through the driver's window. Shipman fled, ending the incident.

Police also state in their reports that used nappies were found in the car, perhaps worn by Nowak during her 1,000 mile cross-country dash to minimise on comfort stops. Nowak's lawyer, however, says that in fact the nappies were child-sized and some had been used by her twin daughters 18 months previously while escaping from Hurricane Rita. In any event, the police decline to hold the absorbent underwear as evidence and as such it cannot be produced at trial.

Subsequently legal proceedings have dragged on, with much debate as to whether statements made by Nowak to the Florida cops, and items in her car, can legally be produced at trial.

Now it appears that her defence team have received a new document, only now disclosed by the prosecution. It is a report by fire-department medics who treated Shipman after her encounter with the troubled astronaut, and it reportedly says that Shipman "denied any direct contact with pepper spray and was not experiencing any burning sensations or medical problems."

Nowak's lawyers say that failure by the prosecution to hand over this document means that the charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and battery should be dismissed. If they aren't, they ask that no mention of less-lethal riot agents be made at the trial.

"The police made a mountain out of a molehill in this case and now we have learned there was never a molehill to start with," Nowak lawyer Donald Lykkebak said in a statement this week.

Captain Nowak was dismissed from the astronaut corps after the charges were brought, and remains in a holding assignment with the US Navy. Depending on the results of the civil legal proceedings, she could face naval disciplinary measures in future. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.