BOSTON – The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller — a German citizen whose twisted life of multiple aliases unraveled after he was charged with kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter — won the right to bail Monday at a sum befitting a true Rockefeller.
Magistrate Gary Wilson set bail at $50 million for the man authorities say is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who has been living under fake identities since coming to the United States in 1978. He also has been identified as a "person of interest" in the 1985 disappearance of a California couple.
Gerhartsreiter pleaded not guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges he grabbed his daughter Reigh off a Boston street during a supervised visit in July, shoving away a court-appointed social worker, then fleeing in a hired car. He also was charged with lying to police about his identity.
The man and daughter were found Aug. 2 at a home in Baltimore. The girl has since returned to England, where she lives with her mother.
Gerhartsreiter's attorney, Stephen Hrones, conceded the man had lied about his roots, but said there was no basis for the kidnapping charges because he contends his marriage to the girl's mother was never valid, so no custody agreement could be, either.
Assistant District Attorney David Deakin asked that bail be denied, saying Gerhartsreiter had no meaningful ties in the area, had access to cash and has spun fantastic stories in the past.
Gerhartsreiter hinted he was a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family. But descendants of the oil tycoon said he was not related.
His attorney downplayed the stories. "Sure he told some tall tales, a lot of people tell tall tales. That's not a crime," Hrones said.