A note in yesterday's Washington Post describes Nowak's plans for her defense:
Former astronaut Lisa M. Nowak is pursuing a temporary-insanity defense on charges that she assaulted and tried to kidnap a romantic rival, according to a court document released Tuesday.It will be interesting to learn how this defense pans out for Nowak. It's hard to believe that person, no matter how qualified, could become an astronaut with the diagnoses she's describing. Just as interesting is the fact that, on top of so many other very serious mental issues, Nowak is now described as autistic. This is, of course, not the first time that a serious crime has been connected - at least loosely - with autism.
Nowak suffered from major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia and "brief psychotic disorder with marked stressors," defense attorney Donald Lykkebak wrote in his notice of intent to rely on the insanity defense.
The notice also describes Nowak as having Asperger syndrome, a condition with autism-like symptoms that causes problems with social skills and can lead to eccentric behavior.
What's your take on this new twist? Do you think Nowak's description of herself as autistic will be taken seriously? When do you suppose she received that diagnosis? And - how did she (apparently) keep her autism hidden for so long?