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Douglas Kennedy Found Not Guilty

Mount Kisco Judge John Donohue sides with defense on counts of child endangerment, harassment.

Douglas Kennedy has been acquitted on all charges against him stemming from his movement of his newborn son, Bo, through the maternity ward of Northern Westchester Hospital.

In a 10-page decision dated Tuesday, Mount Kisco Village Justice John Donohue, who presided over a non-jury, bench trial, sided with Kennedy's arguments, finding him not guilty of one count of child endangerment, a misdemeanor, and not guilty on two counts of harassment, non-criminal violations.

Elated, Kennedy and his wife, Molly, released a statement to the media.

"We want to thank our family, our friends and our neighbors in Pleasantville who supported us from the very beginning.

"We also want to thank Roger and Beth Ailes [the head of Fox News and his wife] who took us into their home during a difficult time and who immediately knew the allegations were totally without merit.

"We are particularly grateful to the Mount Kisco Police Department, Court Clerk Eleanor Humphrey and Judge John Donahue for judging the case on the facts.

"We have always believed that it is okay for a father to hold his son and it is never okay for anyone to try to grab a baby from any parent's arms."

On the night of the alleged incident, Jan. 7, Kennedy wanted to take his 2-day-old son outside for fresh air. The defense argued that, based on initial feedback from the nurses' station, that the impression given was that it was acceptable, but the situation was escalated when the two nurses, Anna Lane and Cari Luciano intervened, resulting in an alleged scuffle between them and Kennedy. The prosecution argued that Kennedy was reckless, intentionally disregarded the intent of Lane to have him not proceeding with the infant, and engaged in activities that were risking to the baby's wellbeing.

On the child endangerment count, which involved the movement of Bo through the building, Donohue sided with the defense's argument that Kennedy, who lives in Chappaqua and works for Fox News, did not knowlingly cause harm likely to be injurious to his son, which is the threshold for proving the count. As an example, Donohue cited testimony from Dr. Timothy Haydock, who was working in the emergency room that night and is a longtime Kennedy family friend. He also wrote that the hold that Kennedy for the baby, called a football hold, did not suffice for proving the charge. Additionally, Donohue explained that there was no testimony that the way in which Kennedy carried Bo, was inherently dangerous, even if hospital protocol required transport with a bassinet. Kennedy, according to security camera footage and testimony, brought out a bassinet into the hallway but did not use it.

The whole timeline, which included Kennedy moving to a stairwell during the alleged altercation with the nurses, was about seven minutes, Donohue wrote.

It was Kennedy's intent to bring his son outside for fresh air, and two Codes (pink and purple) were called against him as he tried to leave the ward. Code Pink signals abduction of infants, while Code Purple is for cases involving someone who is agitated. Donohue wrote that the prosuection did not prove that taking Bo outside was injurous.

"There was not showing by the prosecution that the child's health was such that taking the child outside would, in fact, be hazardous to the child's physical, moral or mental welfare," Donohue wrote.

Donohue also sided with the prosecution in its argument that hospital policy intended to regulate infant transport in the building did not specifically apply to a father taking his infant outside for fresh air.

With regard to the harassment counts, in his decision, Donohue agreed with the defense that Kennedy, a son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, did not intentionally kick Luciano when she reached for Bo when he was in the stairwell door of the ward floor. The defense, during the trial, argued that Kennedy instinctively pushed Luciano away when she tried to take the baby. Donohue also wrote that the assertion of Lane that Kennedy twisted her arm to stop her from holding the ward's stairwell door was not corroborated beyond her own testimony.

The incident was alleged to have happened on Jan. 7, two days after Bo was born. Kennedy was charged on Feb. 23 and his trial took place for five days in late October, including testimony from Lane, Luciano, Haydock and other NWH workers.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Kennedy's attorneys lauded Donohue's verdict and reiterated their arguments from the trial in blasting the credibility of Lane and Luciano.

Attorney Robert Gottlieb praised Donohue for his decisions, and argued that the security camera footage on the floor of the ward, which was played several times during the trial and by media, played an important role in Kennedy's favor.

Gottlieb continued to accuse the nurses of planning a civil lawsuit against Kennedy, arguing that the criminal case was to “bolster their chances in a civil lawsuit.”

Gottlieb argued that the decision was a clear one.

“It's unambiguous.”

Elliot Taub, an attorney for the nurses, could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for NWH also declined to comment, referring an inquiry to those who are involved with the case.

A spokesman for the Westchester County District Attorney's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Redfoot- I just had my yearly examination by my opthamolgist. 20/20 Right Eye-2/25 Left eye. Hardly indiciative of Myopia. Literally & figuratively you are once again mistaken.
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 02:06 AM
CCBAXTER- Just what are your qualifications for judging anyone's brightness or intelligence? I will match my wit, intelligence, and I.Q. to any and all on this blog and this includes you as well. Appaently if you have read the entire blog, you have spent an equal amount of time on it as I have.
Aidan December 02, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Same here. Pure unintended entertainment.
Granny RN December 02, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Just to clear up a few things for you: There is no reason to believe that the air in Massachusetts, warm OR cold, is 'fresher' outdoors than inside. Mr. Kennedy also risked having the baby taken FROM him by leaving a secured area. Newborns arrive with antibodies from their mothers' immune systems which are active for the first 2 months of life until it begins to develop its own active immune system. The nurse who removed the ankle monitor in the first place was wrong to do so. No doubt he/she was trying to inappropriately accommodate this 'VIP' who should have known better than to ask in the first place. The Kennedy family owns a 'compound' to which a private birthing center could no doubt be added. After all, people such as this use 'concierge doctors' all the timel After all, home births are still legal in this country. Surely they could arrange for a cute little operating suite as a 'bonus room'. Adding Yet Another Form to the already thick admissions paperwork is every bureaucrats' answer to any problem which MIGHT arise one day and they CAN be 'lost' or 'overlooked' in any given case when someone decides to change his mind. In this case Mr. Kennedy CHOSE to break the rules and to seek special treatment These nurses have the Right to work without fear of physical or mental abuse especially since the State of Massachusetts has a law which states that it is a FELONY to attack or abuse a nurse.
PC Lover December 02, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Granny you are so far off base that you are in the wrong state all together. The Kennedy thing happened in NY...not Massachussetts. I guess Granny has a little dementia....
stephany December 02, 2012 at 05:20 AM
she had me wondering there. I thought maybe there was 2 . how old are you granny rn. did they have nursing school back then or was it like hmm nursing looks cool
stephany December 02, 2012 at 05:23 AM
and when i said "here" in NY i only meant to imply it may not have been the very same exact temp where it happened--it could have been warmer or cooler or the same.
Granny RN December 02, 2012 at 05:36 AM
For: PC Lover and stephany: My comment referenced Kennedy family activity and property in BOTH New York and Massachusetts, and BOTH states have laws which designate attacks on nurses and other healthcare personnel as Felony Crimes. The little jab about my age has no more to do with this discussion than my asking for YOUR sexual preference. We shall say here, with great pride, that my Nursing School was more akin to Basic Training in the Marine Corps-only a few VERY GOOD students survived to serve! There were 99 students in 1st Quarter, from which only 34 graduated 2 years later. My school had a 100% Licensing Exam passing rate and I was told recently that it is Still just as hard today, Thank God. Too many people go into the profession who don't want to work hard, think that what they see on TV is Real, or are looking to marry a doctor. If you think that it looks easy, come and try it on sometime!
aph47 December 02, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I love the legal commentary here. It so much fun to see people who know nothing about the law comment on this case and criticize a judge. And for everyone misusing these legal terms - assault = creating fear of injury in another person (NOT TOUCHING THEM). Battery - unwanted physical contact. sigh.
CCBaxter December 02, 2012 at 06:05 AM
When you share as much nonsense as you have Ms. Latella, qualifications are not necessary. Asking for them anywhere in these comment boxes on this foolish little site is tantamount to asking for security clearances in a sandbox. When taking a 3 year old to the zoo, do you feel the need to ask for the toddlers qualifications in identifying the monkey. "That's a monkey swinging around in there." Same applies here. This box is your cage, and you are beyond doubt, the little monkey.
Dan Whelan December 02, 2012 at 06:13 AM
You people going to stop beating a dead horse anytime soon?
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 12:48 PM
CCBaxter-This is not a commentary for lawyers. It is for people's opinions. Of course a lawyer like yourself is welcome to spend time here. I want to thank you for making me 81 years younger. That was so nice of you. Also I like monkeys better then some people and you happen to one of those people. Tell your friend Mr. Kennedy I said hello & I do hope Bo has many more opportunities to see the moon now that he is home.
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 01:03 PM
PCLover- You are riciulous to call Granny Nurse a person who has dementia. This Granny could be 45 years old as many Grannys are. She is an R.N. and therefore exceptionally intelligent. I hope you are not the patient when she is assisting some surgeon who is operating on you. By the way do you have an occupation that requires intelligence?
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 01:14 PM
To anyone & everyone on this commentry page who believes it is perfectly alright to kick a nurse in the groin & twist anothers arm, I say to you perhaps you are just another bully like Mr. Kennedy. It is my opinion it is not the first time Mr. Kennedy hit a woman nor will it be his last. So there is no dead horse here. It would be nice if it was the end of the story. However, Kennedy men's antics will never stop.
PC Lover December 02, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Anne, my occupation is arguing with you, so in answer to your question; no...that does not require any intelligence.
Aidan December 02, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Please stop.
Walden Macnair December 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Alph, "Assault with Battery"; legal definition: Hitting someone in the head with a Sears Diehard.
StopTheKennedysTheyAreToStrikeAgain December 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM
"However, Kennedy men's antics will never stop." Anne Latella At this point, all that has been established is that, it is Ms. Latella who won't stop. It is impossible to predict the future behavior of anyone, nor would we waste our time with such ridiculous forecasts. However, this is precisely why we owe Ms. Latella such deep gratitude. I know I will sleep much better knowing that you are out there, Anne Latella. To keep on eye on these dangerous Kennedy men, and women for that matter. I can rest easy, knowing that any mention of the name Kennedy and yourself and other unhappy, slighted, souls filled with regret and rage, will be up in arms, ensuring that these dangerous antics of these powerful, dangerous Kennedys will be met with a vintage vitriol, anger and resentment on display here, at which we all marvel. Thank you for this important work which you are doing in monitoring the lives of these meaningless Kennedy children. Your writing speaks for for itself, your efforts in this area are clearly unmatched, God bless you Anne Latella, and God bless and protect America from 3rd rate meaningless Kennedys.
Nummy December 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Stupidity has no ending, from the Judge to mostly all of these comments all but the one from Walden Macnair "Alph, "Assault with Battery"; legal definition: Hitting someone in the head with a Sears Diehard.'' Then again Walden Macnair could be the first one to get hit by a parked car.
Granny RN December 02, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Thank you, Ms. Latella, for defending Nurses as a whole for having the right to work without being 'Assaulted' OR 'Battered'. I can assure you that nurses from all over the world have been watching this case and most, like myself, are disgusted at the way this case was diluted down and placed in the lap of ONE person instead of a jury of 12. And you are correct about the 'antics of the Kennedy men'. They do not have a very good track record where women are concerned.
Granny RN December 02, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Why should anyone STOP? Does the Truth bother you? Or do you prefer to live the 'Camelot Fantasy'?
Granny RN December 02, 2012 at 06:01 PM
"All that is necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men do Nothing.' - Edmund Burke
Granny RN December 02, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Ms. Latella has the Right to express her views under the First Amendment just as you or I. Your sarcastic criticism of her, unfortunately, is also protected so long as you do not threaten her person or make libelous or slanderous comments. Remember that Your Rights end where the next persons' Begin.
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 06:33 PM
aph47-Since when were judges above citicism? As for Aidan I though you had gotten lost on some other blog.
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Stop the Kennedys- I believe there is precedent here. It is my opinion those of you who complain about beating a dead horse are doing the same thing yourself. It appears you are all sorry you could not be there to help Kennedy do his dastardly deeds. It also apppears I have struck a nerve in most of you .
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Stop The Kennedys- I never mentioned the Kennedy women. So please do not embellish my remarks with your sick rhetoric.
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Sorry Aidan- No red light here.
Anne Latella December 02, 2012 at 06:48 PM
P.C. - Some occupation! Unemployment is so rampant nowadays, I am happy to have finally given you a job.
Remember Mary Jo December 02, 2012 at 06:59 PM
'So please do not embellish my remarks with your sick rhetoric.' LOL -- jiust when you think the bar cannot be lowered any further. Remember Mary Jo!!!! (Which by the way, is a brilliant addition- if you haven't read it)
Remember Mary Jo December 02, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Remember Mary Jo -- "Not guilty, psst. Remember Mary Jo! Remember the other one, Willie Kennedy Smith, remember the old man, he was a booze runner. Bobby Kennedy killed Marilyn Monroe, Jack Kennedy, wonder why they murdered him, huh? Rose Kennedy - there's nothing really on her, yet, but we know she was trouble. These Kennedy's they have too much money, they get the best lawyers and they all get off! Except for that fat one with the funny last name who killed the girl with the golf club, but he doesn't really count. And Imagine all the stuff that we never hear about that these Kennedys do, that they lawyers clear up before they are even charged. And what about Tom Kennedy, the one "posing"as a regular joe talk show host, Kennedy from MTV, she's a Kennedy, I don't wanna think about what's she into. George Kennedy, what's he done after "Airport?" Just look at them all, after Mary Jo -- Patrick Kennedy, Kara Kennedy, Doug Kennedy, there's a whole string of these meaningless little Kennedys, these Kennedy's had a lot of kids you know. Yeah, they seem pretty flaccid and you wonder why you're focusing on them, but remember Mary Jo!!, and all the money, and Camelot, that's why your focused on them!! And this Robert Jr. he may have a high voice, but don't let that fool ya, they're investigating. His wife was a drunk and depressed, yeah, so she killed herself. Huh, uh, and that's supposed to add up? But he'lll get off, cause he's a Kennedy. Oh there just so smug, that's what gets me.

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