The opening day of Douglas Kennedy's Mount Kisco trial was marked by teary testimony from Anna Lane, one of the two Northern Westchester Hospital nurses involved in the scuffle over moving his newborn son, Bo, out of the maternity ward.
At the non-jury bench trial, Lane portrayed Kennedy as reckless and aggressive when confronted, recalling the alleged altercation between the two that started when she got involved in his request to move the baby. She described how she wanted Kennedy to put the baby in a bassinet, which is what the hospital's policy states is required for moving infants around the hallway.
"He refused to put the baby down," she claimed.
Lane also described her concern for the baby's wellbeing.
"I kept the baby in my sight at all times," she said while being cross-examined by Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto, one of two prosecutors handling the case.
The nurse, who has 10 years of experience at NWH, kept composed at first but sobbed as she described her claim of the alleged altercation after he tried to leave the floor. She claimed that she first tried to keep Kennedy from going down the elevator, successfully, by pressing the open button, but he then headed for a stairwell door, which Lane said she tried to hold in place by putting her left hand on the knob.
"Then he grabbed me," she said, claiming that Kennedy twisted her left arm to force her hand off of the knob, before proceeding through the door.
"His motion was backwards through the doorway," she said.
Lane then described an alleged scuffle between Kennedy and another nurse, Cari Luciano, claiming that he kicked her to move her away from him. The two, she tesified, fell on opposite sides.
"I saw her flying in the other direction," she said.
Security camera footage of the hallway by the door that was played during the trial shows Luciano falling to the floor in a direction away from the door but does not show what Kennedy did.
Lane, in her testimony, described Kennedy as someone who would not listen or care. She claimed that he said something to the effect of he was going to do what he wanted, and raised his voice during their argument at the elevator. Lane also said Kennedy refused her overture, shortly after meeting, to get a pediatrician involved to consider his request to take Bo outside for fresh air.
Lane stated in her testimony that she could not permit Kennedy's request because she was not authorized to do so.
Angela Adamo, a fellow nurse, was a likeminded witness. On her shift at the same time on Jan. 7, Adamo, who said in her testimony that she talked to Kennedy before Lane, said she worried for the baby's safety.
"I was trying to do anything so they would not leave the unit," she said.
Kennedy's attorneys assailed Lane's credibility, with claims that she and Luciano overreacted, were liars and were motivated by financial gain from the situation.
Celia Gordon, one of Kennedy's lawyers, described Lane as "an abrasive, confrontational nurse," arguing that she changed the tone of Kennedy's conversation about moving Bo.
Lane, Gordon argued, was overreacting "from the very first moment." She argued that she asked for calls for codes pink and purple, which respectively deal with child abduction and an individual's conduct, just shortly after seeing Kennedy.
Lane entered into the discussion with Kennedy after he made his request at a nurses' station, accompanied by Dr. Timothy Haydock, who was in charge of emergency room matters at the hospital and followed Kennedy in scrubs. Multiple witnesses, including Lane, testified that they did not readily know who Haydock was.
When Robert Gottlieb, Kennedy's other attorney, got a chance to cross examine Lane he assailed her credibility.
Gottlieb asked Lane whether she did not want to relive the event in her testimony, which she agreed with.
"I would rather not," she replied.
However, he then noted that she did a "Today Show" interview on Feb. 26, which he said was "with a heck of a lot more people," than in the court room. He then asked Lane whether anyone forced her to appear on the show.
"No," Lane replied.
Kennedy's attorneys also attacked a proposed settlement in March that was worked on by Elliot Taub, whom Lane and Luciano hired shortly after the date of the incident. When Gottlieb asked whether a monetary payment to the nurses was part of the proposal, Lane acknowledged it was.
While the settlement was worked on by Taub on the nurses' behalf, Lane adamently denied that she was out to get money, saying that she was "offended by even talks of settlement."
Gottlieb's examination was cut short around 5 p.m. by Mount Kisco Village Justice John Donohue, with the end of the trial day cited. The trial will enter its second day on Tuesday morning, starting at 9:30 a.m. and with Lane expected to continue her testimony.