Astronaut diaper detail disputed

From the Associated Press

Former astronaut Lisa Marie 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 case.

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

The tidbit about diapers was in the police report filed after Nowak’s arrest in February.

Nowak was asked “why she had baby diapers,” according to the charging affidavit by Officer William “Chris” Becton. “Mrs. Nowak said that she didn’t want to stop and use the restroom.”


There were diapers in her car when she was arrested, but they were toddler-size, Lykkebak said. They were leftover from 2005 when Nowak, a mother of three, and her family evacuated during Hurricane Rita, he said.

The diaper detail became fodder for late-night TV comics and talk radio. “It jeopardizes our ability to have a fair trial when the accused is the butt of jokes,” Lykkebak said.

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 what was fact.

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 then-astronaut William A. Oefelein. Oefelein told detectives he had had a two-year relationship with Nowak but ended it after becoming involved with Shipman.

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


Oefelein left the corps early this month.

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