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Former Astronaut Nowak Wants Ankle Monitor Removed

By TRAVIS REED
Associated Press Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Former astronaut Lisa Nowak, accused of attacking a romantic rival, asked a judge Friday to let her remove her electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, saying that it cuts her ankle and gets in the way of her military boot laces.

Nowak promised to abide by all court orders if the GPS monitoring device is removed, including not having any contact with Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, the woman she is accused of pepper spraying in an airport parking lot.

Shipman's attorney fought the request.

On the witness stand, Shipman told the judge she is still afraid of Nowak.

"When I'm home alone and there's nobody there with me, it is a comfort," she said of the Nowak's monitoring bracelet. She also acknowledged, however, that she had visited her boyfriend in Nowak's hometown of Houston several times since Nowak's arrest. She didn't say if that boyfriend was the same shuttle pilot.

Nowak, a 44-year-old Navy pilot, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault.

Her attorney, Donald Lykkebak, said he planned to ask Circuit Court Judge Marc L. Lubet at the hearing Friday to throw out evidence in the case, including an interview Nowak gave to police and items found during a search of her car.

Nowak had told the detectives that she and Shipman were vying for the affection of the same space shuttle pilot and that she confronted Shipman in an Orlando International Airport parking lot because she wanted to know "where she stands."

She is accused of attacking Shipman with pepper spray and trying to jump into her vehicle. Police say Nowak also had a duffel bag with a steel mallet, 4-inch knife and a BB gun.

Lykkebak contends police searched Nowak's car without her permission or a warrant. He said in additional court filings that she gave the interview under duress - after being held for three hours, deprived of sleep and a phone call and unadvised of her constitutional rights. The interview persisted, Lykkebak said, despite Nowak saying "Should I have a lawyer?" three times.

Nowak also planned to give her first public statement after the hearing, he said.

During questioning about the monitoring bracelet, Nowak said it was bulky and painful, and has kept her out of public places fearing its alarm. She said it also interferes with her ability to exercise - a requirement for a Navy officer, and inhibits her ability to drive.

"I can do weights. I don't have other suitable aerobic exercises," Nowak said. "There's no specific exercise required, but staying shape is a requirement of the military."

Nowak also said she has to change the batteries every 12-15 hours - at least twice a day. She pays for the bracelet, which costs $105 a week and about $3,000 so far.

Assistant state attorney Pamela Davis suggested Nowak could do other exercises, and has been able to bathe despite the inconvenience. She also dismissed the cost as an issue.

"You're paying a media consultant - fire the consultant," she told Nowak.

Kepler Funk, an attorney for Shipman, called the bracelet the most important condition of Nowak's freedom.

"She is scared of Ms. Nowak," Funk said of his client. "Right now there is probable cause to believe Ms. Nowak committed a crime against Ms. Shipman that's punishable by life in prison. ... The only comfort she's had for the past six months is knowing that someone has been monitoring Ms. Nowak's every move."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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