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Former Astronaut Nowak Drops Insanity Defense

NowakFormer astronaut Lisa Nowak will not claim insanity if her case ever goes to trial.

Nowak's attorney, Donald Lykkebak, filed a motion in an Orlando court Thursday to withdraw a previous motion filed in 2007, which would have left open the opportunity to use an insanity defense in the case.

Investigators allege that Nowak drove 1,000 miles from Houston to Orlando International Airport to stalk, then attack a love rival in the airport's parking lot on Feb. 5, 2007.

"This was never a strategy the defense discussed," said Lykkebak's spokeswoman, Marti MacKenzie. "You had to file a motion for that as an option by a certain time."

Lykkebak claimed in the 2007 court filing that Nowak was suffering from a laundry list of issues, including: partner relational problem, major depressive disorder, insomnia, brief psychotic disorder with marked stressors, Asperger's disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, loss of body mass, problems with primary support group, marital separation, problems related to social environment, inadequate social support system and inability to confide in social contacts.

In April, Orlando Circuit Court Judge Marc Lubet ordered Nowak to undergo two psychiatric evaluations by state-appointed psychiatrists by June 12, in anticipation of her trial on attempted kidnapping, battery and attempted burglary with assault charges.

Following the alleged attack on Colleen Shipman, NASA conducted its own psychiatric evaluation of Nowak, but those records are not public and are protected under privacy laws.

Both women were vying for the affections of then-astronaut William Oefelein.

Nowak and Oefelein both were fired by NASA following the incident.

Oefelein and Shipman live together in Anchorage, Alaska, and run a freelance adventure writing site on the Internet. Oefelein also is working as a test pilot.

Nowak remains under court order to stay away from the couple.

Shipman's attorney, Keith Szachacz, questioned Lykkebak's strategy.

"It seems inconsistent to me that, first, you file a motion that she's potentially insane, and now she's not," Szachacz said. "What does that say to the public, to those potential jurors?"

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 22. The state's psychiatrists must submit their written reports to the judge, the state attorney and Nowak's attorney by July 6.

That's three years after Nowak worked in space aboard the shuttle Discovery, helping to repair the International Space Station and trying out a new boom extension for repairs on the shuttle.

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