Don Lykkebak, attorney for embattled former astronaut Lisa Nowak, told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit that Nowak was not one of the two astronauts involved in a report this week indicating that NASA allowed astronauts to fly while intoxicated.
Lykkebak spoke exclusively to the ABC News Law & Justice Unit about his client and this week's report.
Nowak faces trial for allegedly assaulting a romantic rival, driving 977 miles to confront her in an Orlando airport parking lot.
ABC News: What was you reaction when you first heard the reports of drunken astronauts in space?
Lykkebak: Well, what bothered me about the reports is simply this: All of the news stories that I saw and even the one on ABC News linked my client Lisa Nowak with the reports of the astronauts flying impaired in space. What bothers me about that linkage is it's totally untrue. ... It's unfair and inaccurate as to Lisa Nowak. Ms. Nowak had absolutely nothing to do with that. She has not flown in space while impaired. She has not been identified as being one of those persons.
What makes the problem a little more complicated is [NASA] refuse[s] to reveal the names of the astronauts; they refuse to reveal when they flew. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence and no suggestion that alcohol was even involved in any way in the Feb. 5 episode for which she is now standing to answer in Orlando. So I want to set the record straight. I've been reluctant to speak about this case at any point. But as Lisa Nowak's advocate, I feel compelled to make a statement and the statement is she denies this completely. My client Lisa Nowak is not one of the two astronauts [implicated] the NASA report.
ABC News: Was your client [ever] drunk in space?
Lykkebak: Absolutely not. ... She did not fly impaired in space. Alcohol was never involved. She is not involved in this accusation. It's unfair that they make this accusation and the news media should links her to it by showing footage of her in her jail attire with her attorney at her first appearance. We would ask that the news media take this for what we say and that they stop reporting this story with the Lisa Nowak story and do so in the same breath. They're not the same story at all.
ABC News: With all due respect, the inquiry that brought this to light was initiated after your client's case. Don't you think that implies any connection?
Lykkebak: If they wanted to address Lisa Nowak's fitness for duty as an astronaut then they should have considered something along this line. The fact that healthy woman in December, mid-December 2006, weighed 127 pounds, and yet Feb. 5, 2007, about a month and a half later when she was arrested in Orlando, she was down to approximately 108 pounds -- in other words an approximate weight loss in a month and a half of 20 pounds. Now, you don't have to be a flight surgeon or a rocket scientist to realize that there is some serious health problem here. This coupled with personal stress and with sleep deprivation are maybe some of the signs that the NASA people who are entrusted with monitoring the health and wellbeing and fitness for duty of the astronauts should have been paying attention with reference to Lisa Nowak.
ABC News: What do you think it suggests about how NASA treats or takes care of its people?