And we're back to this.

Just when you thought the book had finally, mercifully been closed on the Heene family, none other than Balloon Dad is back in our face, denying that his infamous hoax was a hoax at all.

In other words: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's his last vestige of credibility flying away!

In an interview with Larry King set to air Friday, erstwhile fame-seeker Richard Heene insisted that he truly believed 6-year-old son Falcon was inside the runaway homemade craft and not simply biding his time in the family's attic, awaiting the chance to spew and spill on his dad's misdeeds.

"We had searched the house, high and low," Heene said. "I knew he was in the craft…In my mind, in my mind there was no other place."

So why would such a paragon of truth then plead guilty to a felony and accept jail time for something he had no part in? Well, he may suck as a father, but to hear him tell it, he's a damn good husband.

Heene said he copped to charges that cost him four years' probation and 90 days in jail to protect wife Mayumi, who would have faced deportation back to Japan should she have been convicted of a felony. Instead, as part of the plea deal, she ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor making a false report and got 20 days in jail.

"I'm not disputing the fact that I did have to plead guilty, and when I say I have to, I had to do it to save my family and my wife," he nobly explained.

And as for the first of many smoking guns in the case, namely Falcon's verbal and physical eruptions, Heene did his best to explain his son's claim that they had staged the national spectacle "for a show."

"I asked him why did you say that? What are you talking about? And he said a Japanese camera man holding a giant camera asked him to show him how he got into the attic for his TV show. That's why Falcon answered that."

"He didn't mean you were doing it for a proposed TV show?" King asked.


Unfortunately for Heene, his "revelation" comes just days before he's due to report to county jail, meaning any potential media rounds he was hoping for in the wake of his disclosure will now likely be cut short. Oh darn.

He must begin serving the first of his 30-day sentence by Monday. The other 60 days will be served on work release.

As for Mayumi, her 20-day sentence, which is much more flexible, won't begin until May 1.

In the meantime, while forethought clearly isn't Richard's strong point, he should nonetheless be careful what he wishes for.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Department isn't exactly in the business of throwing innocent people in jail, and it's not outside the realm of possibility that they negate the plea deal and allow the apparently guiltless man to stand trial.

Not that there's much chance of that.

"Quite honestly, I'm shocked that he would make such statements," Sheriff Jim Alderden told CNN. "The evidence against Mr. Heene and Mayumi at this point is really overwhelming.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this thing was a hoax, and I really doubt that there's very few people in America who don't understand at this point that this was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Richard and Mayumi."

He wanted fame, he's stuck with infamy.


The Heenes weren't the only poxes on our TV screens last year. Relive our national nightmares with a look back at the Juiciest Scandals of 2009.

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