Florida Restaurant Holds Benefit for Disgraced Astronaut

About 70 diners went to Silvestro's restaurant Sunday night to support Lisa Nowak, the NASA astronaut charged with the attempted murder of a perceived romantic rival.

The Italian restaurant, which was bombarded with criticism after word spread that they were holding the fundraiser, plans to donate the dinner proceeds to Nowak's family.

Restaurant co-owner Tony Bless told Melbourne's Florida Today he thought it was the right thing to do for Nowak, who made a positive impression on his staff when she dined there last summer.

"We stand by our friends in time of need, and it's a time of need," he said.

• PHOTO ESSAY: Astronaut Love Triangle

Bless says he's also gotten supportive calls and e-mails from as far away as Italy.

Nowak was arrested Feb. 5 on charges of attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and three other crimes stemming from what police described as a love triangle involving fellow astronaut William Oefelein. She was released on bail and ordered to stay away from the other woman and to wear a monitoring device.

Click here to read the charges against Nowak (pdf)