Balloon boy dad Richard Heene burst into a diatribe toward authorities in Larimer County, Colorado on The Today Show Friday, saying “the sheriff’s department completely lied,” especially Sheriff Jim Alderden, whom he flat-out called “a liar.” Heene denied the sheriff’s claim he called the local NBC affiliate’s newsroom prior to dialing 911 to report the incident. He said that his Japanese wife Mayumi (whom he said does not have complete command of the English language) did not lie either — as authorities have said — claiming they asked her the same “Yes or No” questions over and over until they got the response they sought.
As for his tots, including the “balloon boy,” 6-year-old Falcon Heene?
“I never said that my children confessed to anything,” Heene told Today Show host Matt Lauer. “I didn’t tell them to lie but the one thing I want to cover, the most important thing of all is the fact that the sheriff’s department completely lied.”
Heene said he only entered a guilty plea to avoid deportation of his wife, Mayumi, back to Japan.
“I need to clear my name,” Heene said. “I need everybody to know that this was not a hoax, absolutely not.”
A worldwide audience watched the bizarre incident unfold October 15, when Heene’s homemade helium balloon soared 7,000 feet over eastern Colorado; Heene begins serving a 90-day jail sentence Monday, after pleading guilty to a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant.