Kerry Kennedy 'Grateful Justice Was Done' Following Acquittal

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Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy speaks about her case following her drugged driving trial in White Plains, where a jury found her not guilty.
Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy speaks about her case following her drugged driving trial in White Plains, where a jury found her not guilty. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- There were hugs, smiles and applause among Kerry Kennedy's family and friends following her acquittal in White Plains Friday morning.

After a week-long trial, the six-person jury deliberated for about 40 minutes before delivering a "not guilty" verdict for the charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs.

The charges stemmed from Kennedy's July 2012 arrest in North Castle, when she hit a tractor-trailer and a guardrail while driving on Ambien. Kennedy, who is the daughter of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the niece of John F. Kennedy and the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying that she accidentally took the pill instead of her thyroid medication.

"I want to say thank you to the jury for returning this verdict and for all their work over the last few days," Kennedy said outside the courthouse following the verdict.

She also thanked her lawyers, her family and friends, her mother Ethel and her daughter Cara.

"I'm just very, very, very grateful that justice was done," she said.

One of her defense attorneys, Gerald Lefcourt, said, "We're of course thrilled by the verdict, but you've got to wonder why an ill-advised prosecution like this was brought. Is it because of who the defendant is?"

Her other attorney, William Aronwald, said that the prosecution refused to dismiss the case because ti would create the impression that Kennedy was receiving special treatment because of her famous family.

"We made it very clear from the outset and in our papers that all we asked the prosecution to do was view her as if her name was Mary Housewife," Aronwald said. "We did not ask for any special treatment, and the fact that they took the hardline position they did suggests to us that they were the ones who treated this case differently because of who she is, Kerry Kennedy. That is what is appalling."

Lefcourt said that there was never a consideration of settling the case. He also acknowledged that Kennedy had the means to hire attorneys and fight the case

"It is a very depressing situation in the criminal justice system, there is not enough adequate resources for defense lawyers, defense investigators," he said. "It's something I have cared about since i was a public defender, and we've got to do more so that there really could be equal justice under the law."

Kennedy said, "I really did have great, great, great lawyers, and most people don't have access to that, and we need to take a hard look at our criminal justice system in the United States to make sure that it really is just and that everyone in our country has true access to justice."

The prosecutors had no comment following the ruling.

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Comments (14)

There was no reason for this to go to trial except both sides have a hunger for attention - any kind! With this comes great opportunities and free stuff. It is a shame tax payers money was wasted in this way. The family even wheeled out the matriarch in the freezing cold to ensure the Kennedy name stays in the press. The whole lot of them should be in a zoo with a fence around them!

For all the cynics; I would, if you have the wherewithall, to download this case and if you are ever stopped and ticketed for any misdemeanor involving drinking or drugs, use this case, plead not guilty and try the case yourself.

and Uncle Teddy was innocent too

Oh the hypocrisy in her statement "Justice was done". She should have said, rightfully, "Justice was BOUGHT"!

Hi Bill,
I attended. It seemed the main issue posed was whether there was evidence of "knowledge" of driving impaired, that is ... intent. It was pointed out that "accidental ingestion" itself is not a crime, and this was indeed a criminal trial - prosecution had to convince jury beyond a reasonable doubt that "knowledge" was present and one would pull the car over. In any event, the defense statements afterwards about not everyone being able to afford great great attorneys seem very very true, and well said, and hopefully will indeed be of some broad benefit.

There's a great business opportunity here. Refill Coke bottles with Rum and Coke. "I didn't know"!

And if her name was NOT Kennedy, would the outcome be different, you bet you. Does anyone know what a thyroid pill looks like? http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-7033-Synthroid+Oral.aspx?drugid=7033&drugname=Synthroid+Oral&pagenumber=2... http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-9690-Ambien+Oral.aspx?drugid=9690&drugname=Ambien+Oral&pagenumber=2 . To me they certainly look different. It is just a case of another Kennedy getting away with breaking the law. Started with the grand father and has continued on.

Who were the over eager prosecutors and what is their record of pretrial conferencing...I'm sure they made a special effort to "hard line " this clearly inappropriate charge.

This charge was very appropriate and justified. It amazes me how there are fans of the Kennedys and excuse them for all of their crimes and misdemeanors.

An inappropriate charge? She admitted taking Ambien. That she was driving impaired under it's influence is not in question. How is "I took it mistakenly" a viable defense? If she were on trial for driving under the influence of alcohol, would "I thought I was drinking orange juice, but I mistakenly drank vodka" get her an acquittal?

Alcohol was an aroma and a "taste" that is unmistakable. Ms. Kennedy's pill was just a pill. Her initial reaction to the police was consistent with her not being aware of her taking a powerful sleeping pill.

There was a wrong prosecution of a teach in Croton who toutored children in her home. This case should not have been brought. It cost her her marriage and years of anguish. It was horrible, and the woman was not from a famous family.

Our district attorney office is too fascistic for my liking.

Just like all the Kennedys they get away with crimes we would be prosecuted for. It is good she didn't kill anyone too bad it wasn't herself. What happens when she does this again and she seriously hurts someone. The verdict was BS. Hope she rots in hell.

She's grateful "justice was done"? Justice was NOT done. But then, she speaks from a position of "holier than thou" and feels entitled to her exoneration for the crime she committed.

Amen. Exactly.