Judge Limit Lawyers' Contact With Media In Astronaut Case

Thursday, April 5th 2007, 9:56 am
By: News On 6

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ The judge presiding over the trial of fired astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak asked lawyers on both sides Thursday to limit media contact, and temporarily sealed court documents that were to be released soon.

Nowak is accused of trying to kidnap a rival for a space shuttle pilot's affections and her case has drawn international attention.

``I'm just trying to keep the media frenzy down to a dull roar,'' Orange County Circuit Judge Marc L. Lubet said.

Lubet stopped short of issuing a gag order, but told both sides they weren't allowed to issue any ``press releases.''

Lubet also signaled that he wanted the trial to start in September instead of July.

Nowak was fired from NASA about a month after her Feb. 5 arrest. Police say she drove from Houston to Florida to confront Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman in an Orlando airport parking lot and then pepper-sprayed her. Shipman, who was dating astronaut Bill Oefelein, was able to get away.

Police reported finding a BB gun, steel mallet, knife and rubber tubing in Nowak's car.

Nowak has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary with assault and battery.