Apollo moonwalker Buzz Aldrin said a former astronaut charged with attempted kidnapping should be "admired" for allegedly avoiding stops when she traveled cross-country to confront a romantic rival, but not excused for her behavior, according to a published report.
Lisa Nowak was arrested in February after police said the married mother of three had driven nearly 1,000 miles from Houston to Orlando, using diapers to avoid taking breaks.
"I think Nowak should be admired for traveling across the country at night and not getting out of her car to put in gas or go to the restroom," Aldrin said in an interview published on Time magazine's Web site. "It is not excusable, but it is understandable for an achiever to fall into a trap."
Aldrin, who followed Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong onto the moon’s surface after the first manned lunar landing in 1969, has said he became depressed and had problems with alcohol after returning to Earth. He has spoken of the difficulties of astronauts readjusting to life outside the space program.
"Astronauts are not superhuman," the 77-year-old told the magazine.
Nowak, 44, pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault. Her lawyers say she may pursue a temporary insanity defense.
In his comments about the Nowak case, Aldrin assumed that the police reports about Nowak’s cross-country trip — and about the diapers — were true. However, Nowak's attorney has called the allegation that she wore diapers to cut down on bathroom stops "the biggest lie in this preposterous tale." He said the toddler-size diapers found in Nowak's car were left over from a previous family trip.
Aldrin himself generated some buzz in 2002 when he slugged filmmaker Bart Sibrel during a confrontation outside a Beverly Hills hotel. Sibrel challenged the former astronaut to swear on a Bible that he landed on the moon, or admit that the landings were a hoax — then called him a "coward, a liar and a thief." It was at that point that Aldrin punched Sibrel in the face, as shown in a video that Sibrel's team was recording at the time.
Los Angeles authorities declined to prosecute Aldrin, saying that he was provoked.
This report includes information from The Associated Press and MSNBC.com.
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