Testimony Ends in 'Clark Rockefeller' Kidnap Trial, Closing Arguments Set for Monday
BOSTON – Testimony has ended in the kidnapping trial of the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller.
Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments and begin deliberating the case on Monday.
The final witness Thursday was psychiatrist Dr. James Chu. He says he believes Rockefeller exaggerated his symptoms and was not insane when he kidnapped his 7-year-old daughter.
Chu was called by prosecutors to rebut the testimony of two defense mental health experts who said Rockefeller suffers from mental disorders and was legally insane when he took his daughter last July in Boston.
Chu, a rebuttal witness for the prosecution, said the defendant was not suffering from delusions and knew it was wrong to take his daughter, Reigh.
• Partial List of Witnesses at the 'Clark Rockefeller' Trial
Rockefeller's real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. Prosecutors say he is con man who planned the abduction for months.
Gerhartsreiter is charged with taking Reigh during a supervised visit in Boston last July after losing custody to his ex-wife. They were found in Baltimore six days later, and the girl was unharmed.
Earlier Thursday, the defense rested its case without calling Rockefeller to the witness stand.
Chu said Rockefeller exaggerated his symptoms and was not insane when he kidnapped Reigh.
Chu said he diagnosed the defendant with a mixed personality disorder. But he said Rockefeller was not suffering from delusions and knew it was wrong to take the little girl.
The defense's experts said Rockefeller's mental condition prevented him from understanding the wrongfulness of abducting Reigh.
Dr. Keith Ablow testified Thursday that Gerhartsreiter told him his father was emotionally abusive during his childhood.
Ablow was one of two defense experts who said on the stand Wednesday that Rockefeller suffered from delusional and narcissistic personality disorders.
The former forensic psychiatrist said Rockefeller suffered from mental illness that worsened after he lost custody of his daughter to his ex-wife in their December 2007 divorce.
Ablow said Rockefeller experienced "profound sadness" after the divorce and believed his daughter was communicating telepathically with him, telling him that she needed to be rescued.
"He was loath to and couldn't quite incorporate the idea that his daughter was gone, and so, he would set the table for two," Ablow said. He added later, "He believes that his daughter was telling him to take her away."
Ablow and forensic psychologist Catherine Howe said they diagnosed Rockefeller with a delusional disorder and a narcissistic personality disorder, and that he did not understand that it was wrong to take his daughter.
The defense claims that Rockefeller was legally insane when he shoved a social worker who was overseeing the visit and fled with the girl.
Prosecutors say Gerhartsreiter is a German-born con man, a consummate liar who concocted incredible stories about himself to work his way into wealthy circles in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. They say he was perfectly sane when he took his daughter in July.
Ablow said that when he first met Gerhartsreiter, he appeared to believe he was really a member of the famous Rockefeller family. But eventually, after spending months in jail awaiting trial, he eventually was able to "drop this delusion" and realize he was a Bavarian-born man who came to the United States at age 17.
Ablow said Gerhartsreiter told him that his father emotionally abused him as a child in Germany, calling him "human refuse."
But during cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney David Deakin showed Ablow an affidavit signed by Gerhartsreiter's father in which he said he was sending his son a monthly support check of $250, plus health insurance when he first moved to the United States in 1978. The affidavit was included in Gerhartsreiter's immigration file.
Howe said Gerhartsreiter has severe symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, including a grandiose sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement and arrogant or haughty behavior. She said his narcissism worsened as more and more people believed the fantastic stories he told about himself to the point where they became delusions.
"The data points to the fact that at some point, his grandiosity, his narcissism ... became so intense that his world, his reality, was not the reality that everybody else would have seen," Howe said.
Deakin challenged Howe's diagnosis, at one point listing various aliases and personas he has allegedly used since moving to the United States from Germany in 1978, including Dr. Reiter, a cardiovascular surgeon from Las Vegas, and Charles "Chip" Smith, a ship's captain based in Chile.
Howe acknowledged that not all of his identities were delusions, but said that his 16-year use of the Rockefeller name "became a delusional belief."
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