December 9, 2008

Court Reintroduces Evidence At Former Astronaut’s Trial

The world-renowned trial of former NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak has been approved to continue after an appeals court readmitted evidence from a police search of her car.

In February of 2007, Nowak was charged with attempted kidnapping, battery, and burglary after authorities say she armed herself with a knife, pepper spray and a steel mallet to assault Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman at Orlando International Airport in Florida.

Police said Nowak drove from Houston to Orlando to confront Shipman, whom she considered a rival for the love of astronaut Bill Oefelein.

Investigators said Nowak even wore diapers on the road trip so she would not have to stop along the way.

NASA fired Nowak and Oefelein after her arrest.

On Friday, the Florida 5th District Court of Appeal overturned a November 2007 decision by the trial court judge, Marc Lubet.

He ruled to toss out the evidence that police seized from Nowak's car and her statements to police, because he said her constitutional rights were violated by the way police interrogated her and searched her car.

Those rulings left prosecutors with little evidence to pursue the case.

However, the appeals court let stand the suppression of Nowak's statements but agreed with prosecutors that police had probable cause to search her car.

It's not known when the trial would resume.

"There could be other motions by the state and there could be other motions by the defense. The defense is not going to discuss their strategy," said Marti MacKenzie, spokeswoman for defense attorney Donald Lykkebak.


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