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Man wants false name charge dismissed

THE German who American 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 on Sunday that prosecutors failed to prove he adopted the alias to throw 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 filed in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday.

Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, did not return calls for comment.

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.


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