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Lawyer: Ex-astronaut Nowak wants ankle-bracelet removed

  • Story Highlights
  • Nowak's lawyer to ask a judge Friday to throw out statements, suppress evidence
  • Lawyer also wants the former astronaut's ankle bracelet removed
  • Nowak is accused of attacking a romantic rival
  • Nowak may testify during Friday's pretrial hearing
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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- The lawyer for Lisa Nowak -- the former NASA astronaut accused of assaulting a romantic rival -- will ask a judge Friday to throw out her statements to police, suppress evidence collected from her car and remove her ankle-bracelet monitor.

Former astronaut Lisa Nowak allegedly drove nearly 900 miles to confront her romantic rival.

The pretrial hearing, during which witnesses will be called -- and Nowak may testify -- is set to start at 9 a.m. ET in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.

NASA ended Nowak's assignment as an astronaut in March after she allegedly assaulted Air Force Cpt. Colleen Shipman, who was dating Nowak's former love interest, Navy Cmdr. Bill Oefelein.

Nowak, a captain in the U.S. Navy, allegedly drove nearly 900 miles from Houston, Texas, to Orlando, Florida, wearing adult diapers to cut down on the number of stops she needed to make, in order to confront Shipman, according to an initial police report. Video Watch Nowak on floor of holding cell »

She was apprehended in the parking lot at Orlando International Airport after Shipman claimed Nowak attacked her. Airport surveillance tapes show Nowak donning a disguise while waiting for Shipman to arrive, then following her, police said.

Shipman told police that Nowak approached her car in the airport parking lot, and asked her for help with a dead battery.

"I cracked my window open about two inches and told her I'd send someone to help her," Shipman said. "She said, 'Please help me,' and then started spraying something from a skinny black can into my window.'"

Police said the can held pepper spray.

Nowak pleaded not guilty March 22 to charges of attempted kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm, battery and burglary of a vehicle using a weapon. The trial is to begin next month.

If convicted of the February 5 incidents, the 44-year-old woman could face a sentence of up to life in prison.

Defense attorney Don Lykkebak has said the charges overstate his client's conduct. He said Nowak was under duress at the time and was not provided counsel when she was arrested.

He wants the judge to throw out her statements to police and all evidence collected from her person and her car. Nowak was not properly advised of her constitutional rights before the police interviews began, the lawyer says.

Lykkebak wants Nowak's ankle bracelet removed, arguing that it costs his client $105 per week for the monitoring, which is uncomfortable and cumbersome. The lawyer has said Nowak is not a flight risk, and will stay away from Brevard County, where Shipman lives.

Police contend Nowak gave them permission to search her car, which was parked away from the airport. From it they seized weapons and photos inside a duffel bag, a steel mallet, a 4-inch buck knife and a loaded BB gun. They also found an alleged "plan," which was written on paper and included flight information and directions.

Police said they also found a large plastic trash bag.

"Inside the bag I saw two used diapers. I asked Ms. Nowak if the diapers were used. She said that the diapers were used," an officer said. "I then asked Mrs. Nowak why she had the baby diapers. Mrs. Nowak said that she did not want to stop and use the restroom, so, she used the diapers to collect her urine."

According to the Orange County Attorney's Office, Nowak -- while in a jail cell -- explained to authorities: "I just wanted to sit there and talk to her, and she said she wouldn't talk to me and she walked away."

Pending the resolution of the criminal charges against her, Nowak is assigned to the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas.


Oefelein, who left NASA in June, told investigators he and Nowak had been involved in a sexual relationship, but he ended it in January.

He said Nowak "appeared to take the news well." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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