Kennedy son goes on trial in alleged assault of two nurses

CNN Wire Service

NEW YORK — The trial of Douglas Kennedy, who is accused of assaulting two New York nurses in January, begins Monday morning.

He faces misdemeanor changes of harassment and child endangerment, attorneys on both sides have said.

Kennedy — son of the late Robert F. Kennedy — attempted to take his newborn son Bo off the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco in January to get some “fresh air” when the altercation occurred, attorneys in the case said. The two nurses said when they attempted to stop Kennedy he twisted one of their arms and kicked the other.

Kennedy’s attorney Robert Gottlieb says his client did nothing wrong.

“The only issue is the aggressive and unprofessional conduct of two nurses,” Gottlieb said in a February letter to the hospital. At the time, the family asked that a “thorough investigation be undertaken immediately of the nurses involved in this disgraceful incident and that appropriate disciplinary action taken against them.”

Kennedy, who was accompanied by Timothy Haydock, a doctor at the hospital and a longtime family friend, said the nurses had initially agreed to let Kennedy take the baby outside.

“The nurses were the only aggressors,” Haydock said in a statement delivered by Kennedy’s attorney.

But neither nurse recognized Kennedy as the child’s father and intended to protect the baby, who apparently had not been discharged, according to Elliot Taub, the attorney for both nurses. They were trying to enforce hospital rules, he said.

Northern Westchester Hospital issued a statement in February in support of the nurses.

“At Northern Westchester Hospital, patient safety is our priority and we completely support the actions of our nursing staff in this case as they were clearly acting out of concern for the safety of a newborn baby.”

Kennedy has denied the allegations, saying that “the nurse had no right to grab our child out of his father’s arms.”

The late Robert F. Kennedy was the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy and had served as U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator. He was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

— CNN’s Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.