Feeds

Nowak astronaut romanta-scuffle affair: New evidence

'There was no molehill' insists lawyer

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
OKCupid: 'The MYTH of COMPATIBILITY is as good as the TRUTH'
Experiments on users show lonely hearts are shallow ones
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.