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Insanity plea at kidnapping trial

LAWYERS for a man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller used their closing argument at his kidnapping trial yesterday in the United States to depict him as a devoted father with a mental illness that exploded when he lost custody of the girl.

Rockefeller's real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. He is accused of kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter during a supervised visit in Boston last July. Both Father and daughter were found in Baltimore six days later.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Denner told the jury at a court in Boston that Gerhartsreiter had suffered from mental illness for 30 years. Denner says the illness worsened dramatically when he lost custody of the girl in 2007. Denner says that caused a "psychotic break."

Earlier it had been claimed that Gerhartsreiter exaggerated his symptoms of mental illness and was not insane when he kidnapped his daughter.

Dr James Chu, a psychiatrist, was called by prosecutors to rebut the testimony of two mental health experts about Gerhartsreiter's condition. Chu said he was not suffering from delusions and knew it was wrong to take his daughter.

Defense experts had said his mental health problems were so severe that he wasn't responsible for his actions.

German-born Gerhartsreiter, 48, is accused of taking his daughter seven months after losing custody of her to his ex-wife, Sandra Boss, a partner in the London office of management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Witnesses have testified that he claimed an aristocratic background and told a wide variety of stories about what he did, describing himself at varying times as a cardiovascular surgeon, a physicist, a ship's captain and a member of the Trilateral Commission, an organization established to foster cooperation between the United States, Europe and Japan.


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