Lesbian astronaut ‘was falsely accused’ of committing the first-ever space crime by her estranged wife
An astronaut’s estranged wife has been indicted for falsely accusing her of committing a crime from space.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain had been accused of improperly accessing the bank account of her wife Summer Worden while on a six-month mission to the International Space Station.
The incident was widely reported in 2019 as potentially the first crime committed from space, but McClain strenuously denied any wrongdoing – making clear via her lawyer that she was checking on the intertwined family finances, using the login shared with her by Worden, as she had frequently done during their marriage.
Now, Worden has been charged with making false claims in her official complaints after an investigation by federal authorities.
Astronaut’s wife made ‘false statements’ to NASA investigators.
An unsealed Department of Justice indictment alleges that Worden made false statements to NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by claiming to have changed her login details to prevent McClain to accessing the account.
The DoJ’s indictment alleges: “Worden filed a complaint with the FTC, alleging [McClain] had improperly accessed her bank account.
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“She claimed she had opened a new account in September 2018 and reset her login credentials in order to prevent the individual from accessing her accounts, according to the charges.”
However the indictment alleges the account in question was opened in April 2018 – before the couple split – and that Worden did not change her login credentials until January 2019, months after the incident in question.
If convicted, Worden could face up to five years in prison on each count and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
She is scheduled to make her initial appearance before US magistrate judge Dena H Palermo on April 13.
Anne McClain was outed publicly by ‘space crime’ row.
McClain had never publicly spoken about her sexuality prior to her wife’s accusations – and her marriage to Worden only became public knowledge during the legal issues.
The astronaut wrote on Twitter last August: “There’s unequivocally no truth to [Worden’s] claims. We’ve been going through a painful, personal separation that’s now unfortunately in the media. I appreciate the outpouring of support and will reserve comment until after the investigation. I have total confidence in the IG process.”