'Rockefeller' Fights False Name Charges

Con man just gave cops name he'd used for 15 years: defense
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2009 3:13 PM CST
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who calls himself Clark Rockefeller, arrives for a hearing at Suffolk Superior Court, Dec. 1, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The con man who went by “Clark Rockefeller” attempted today to dismiss charges he gave police a fake name when arrested last year, the Boston Globe reports. Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter told police arresting him for absconding with his 7-year-old daughter that he was Clark Rockefeller—as he had told everyone he knew for the past 15 years.

Gerhartsreiter’s defense argues he couldn’t have been trying to mislead police by giving them the name he’d used for over a decade, and points to a Supreme Court decision that says anyone can change their name, without legal proceedings, by simply adopting a new one. Prosecutors say a false name is a false name, especially given that Gerhartsreiter’s purpose in using the Rockefeller surname was to mislead.