Northern Westchester Hospital nurse Cari Luciano sobbed as she testified Tuesday at Douglas Kennedy's trial in Mount Kisco, while recalling the altercation between her and Kennedy as he tried to move his newborn son from the maternity ward.
Luciano recalled the moment on Jan. 7, 2012, when Kennedy opened a stairwell doorway with his son Bo in hand, an event that made her fear for the baby's safety.
"It looked like the baby was unsteady," she said.
Luciano said that she then attempted to reach for the infant to protect and steady him. Once the attempt was made, Luciano stated, Kennedy kicked her with his foot, and then she "just went flying across the floor."
Kennedy went flying in the other direction, she added.
"He flew backwards," she said, and stated that he landed on his back, which was near the stairwell area and on the other side of the door.
Lane, in her testimony, agreed with Luciano's account of the scuffle, as did fellow nurse Marion Williams, who said she was "in shock" after the kicking incident.
Luciano, who has been an NWH nurse for more than a decade, recalled that she was finishing her shift, just after 7 p.m. that, night, when she heard about activity on the floor surrounding Kennedy's request to take Bo outside for air. When fellow nurse Anna Lane, who talked to Kennedy about his request and disputed whether he was allowed to remove the baby, headed inside an elevator to stop Kennedy from using it, Luciano testified that she stood in the elevator doorway to stop him from leaving. She also explained that she did not see Kennedy then twist Lane's left arm to get her hand off of the stairwell door knob, citing the two of them blocking her view as a reason.
Kennedy defense attorney Robert Gottlieb made Luciano's credibility a central issue in his cross examination, just as he did with Lane when she testified on Monday and Tuesday.
He questioned why Luciano would be concerned about reliving the ordeal at a trial when she discussed it in a Feb. 26 "Today Show" interview. Luciano responded that she made the appearance to help her reputation, which she felt was being defamed in the wake of publicity about her role in the incident.
Gottlieb portrayed Luciano as someone who disregards law and policy. As an example, he cited a guilty plea to driving while ability impaired (DWAI) that followed a 2002 drunk driving arrest. He also questioned Luciano about how surveillance footage of the incident was leaked to the media and to her and Lane's attorney, Elliot Taub, arguing that the to do so violates federal patient privacy law.
Luciano denied leaking the footage but said that she showed it to Taub after getting a copy from the hospital upon request.
"I did not give a copy to anyone," she said when the question was brought up by the prosecution.
Gottlieb also stated that footage leaked to NBC had a disclaimer saying it was property of Taub's law firm, and that her ex-husband had a role in the footage's dissemination.
One of the prosecutors, Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto, attempted to object when Gottlieb asked whether Luciano spoke with her husband about a leak, questioning relevance.
"Oh, this is relevant, this is relevant!" Gottlieb said loudly. The lawyer raised his voice multiple time during the questioning, with tensions between he and Puerto rising.
Gottlieb got Luciano to admit that she later accessed medical information about Bo.
"I went into his demographics, yes," she said.
Responding, Gottlieb pressed her further, bringing up whether she violated the law.
"I wasn't think abou the law, sir," Luciano said about her action at the time.
Gottlieb argued that her action was unauthorized. He also told Patch that Luciano was found to have made a privacy violation, although he was not sure whether she was disciplined.
Luciano declined to comment to reporters when she existed the Mount Kisco courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.