Former astronaut Lisa Nowak apologized to Colleen Shipman, the Air Force captain and romantic rival she allegedly assaulted and tried to kidnap after the two became involved in a love triangle and were rivals for astronaut Bill Oefelein's affection.
"I would like her to know how very sorry I am about having frightened her in any way and about the subsequent public harassment that has besieged all of us," Nowak said.
Nowak, speaking publicly for the first time since she was arrested in February, criticized the media for what she called a "tabloid approach" to the story and thanked her family and friends who have stood by her during what she said has been an arduous time for her. She said she has no plans to give any future interviews or statements on her case.
"The past six months have been very difficult for me, my family, and others close to me," Nowak said. "I've been both shocked and overwhelmed at the media coverage."
"Life may change suddenly, but there can be a lot of good yet to be accomplished. I don't know yet how to do that or if the final outcome of this [trial] will allow it," she added.
Nowak spoke Friday afternoon following a pretrial hearing in Orlando, Fla., where her lawyer tried to have both Nowak's testimony to police after she was arrested and the evidence that was seized from her vehicle declared inadmissible at trial.
She appeared in court wearing a dark suit and coiffed hair, a departure from her frazzled look in the mug shot the public has come to know her by.
At the hearing Nowak took the stand to ask Circuit Court Judge Marc L. Lubet for permission to remove the ankle bracelet that monitors her movement. But Shipman, in her own testimony today, told the judge she is still scared of Nowak and wants her to remain in the monitoring device.
The evidence laid out by the prosecution paints a picture of a woman who made a long drive from Houston to Orlando to confront another woman who was dating the man she had been seeing for three years.
In her statement to police, Nowak admits dressing in a disguise and spraying pepper spray into Shipman's car, but she said she only wanted to talk to Shipman, not harm her.
Nowak is a brilliant, talented Navy pilot, the mother of three children, and an astronaut who performed well during her one and only mission, according to colleagues. Friends describe her as very private and very shy, which makes her fall from grace even more startling.
Nowak's lawyer, Don Lykkebak, tried to have his client's statement dismissed on the grounds that after the interrogating police detective, Chris Becton, read Nowak her Miranda rights, he did not ask her if she was willing to speak with police before he took her testimony. Becton did ask Nowak if she was willing to speak before he read her the rights. But Becton said Lykkebak was misinterpreting the statement.
Nowak and Shipman both took the stand concerning the ankle bracelet Nowak wears that is designed to protect Shipman from her.
"Yes I can honestly say I will not go to Brevard County," where Shipman lives, if the bracelet is removed, Nowak told the judge today. She testified that her Navy job requires her to stay in shape, but that the bracelet prevents her from performing certain exercises including swimming.
But Shipman resisted Nowak's plea, telling the judge that knowing Nowak is wearing the bracelet is a source of comfort to her.
"When I'm home alone and there's nobody there with me, it is a comfort,'' Shipman said.