BOSTON – The German who authorities say used the alias Clark Rockefeller to establish himself in wealthy circles in Boston, New York and Los Angeles is asking a judge to dismiss a charge that he gave a false name when he was arrested in the kidnapping of his daughter.
Rockefeller, whose real identity is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, was arrested last summer after he allegedly snatched his 7-year-old daughter during a supervised visit in Boston.
Lawyers for the German national who moved to the United States in the late 1970s said Sunday that prosecutors failed to prove that he adopted the alias to throw the arresting officers off his trail.
The lawyers are asking a judge to drop the charge of providing a false name to police, arguing that he had used the name Clark Rockefeller for at least 15 years, including in a sworn affidavit to the grand jury. The motion to dismiss the charge was to be filed in Suffolk Superior Court on Monday.
Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday.
Gerhartsreiter's attorneys argue that evidence presented before the grand jury "overwhelmingly established" that he was using the name "in good faith ... as his long established, open, public `descriptio personae"' that goes as far back as 1993.
"The whole purpose of the false name statute is to prevent someone who is trying to evade responsibility or hide his identity," defense attorney Jeffrey Denner. "When he gave that name to police, he was giving the name he was known by."
Gerhartsreiter also is charged with parental kidnapping, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
After investigators discovered his true identity, California authorities labeled the 47-year-old Gerhartsreiter a "person of interest" in the 1985 disappearance and presumed slayings of a San Marino couple, Jonathan and Linda Sohus. The suspect, who then went by the name Chris Chichester, was living in a guest house on their property when they disappeared.
Gerhartsreiter's other aliases include Chip smith, Christopher Crowe and James Frederick Mills Clark Rockefeller.