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Kennedy Lawyer Blasts Nurses' Credibility, Demands Their Info

Defense wants more security camera footage, nurses' personnel records, for its case

Douglas Kennedy's attorney didn't hold back at a Thursday court appearance, challenging the credibility of the two nurses who claimed he injured them during over his removal of newborn son Bo from the maternity area.

During the appearance in Mount Kisco Justice Court, which involved an oral argument over a motion by NWH to quash a subpoena, Robert Gottlieb justified his request for information such as more video footage and personnel records of the nurses by noting a need to know the truth.

"We're entitled to test the credibility, the veracity," he said, in making his argument that the defense should get medical records that could verify accounts of injuries.

One of the nurses, Cari Luciano, that she sought medical treatment after she was allegedly struck in her mid-section by Kennedy during the scuffle over Bo. The other nurse, Anna Lane, that he twisted her left arm to stop her from holding onto a doorknob. 

"Where's the proof of that?" Gottlieb asked.

"There was no such injury," Gottlieb said about one of the nurses.

The defense attorney also brought up credibility in his request for personnel history of the nurses.

Gottlieb placed her request for records in a June 11 letter. He also wants to get information about the nurses' work records immediate before and after to incident to see if their ability to work was impaired by injuries.

"It would be relevent on their credibility," he said.

On the issue of video footage, Gottlieb demanded copies of what took place two hours before and after the incident, in the section of the hospital related to the matter.

"So what's the relevance of two hours before?" Village Justice John Donohue asked.

Gottlieb replied that the footage will show if the nurses were on the floor and to ascertain witnesses.

"We want the complete before and after for each of the cameras," Gottlieb said at one point. He argued that the footage, provided by the district attorney's office, may not be complete, and that only one of the clips goes substantially beyond, in time, of the incident.

Additionally, Gottlieb argued that the defense has not gotten a copy of the hospital's specific policy that covers infant removal. David Poppick, an attorney for NWH, stated that information packets are given to those checking into the hospital for maternity care, with a provision stating that infants being moved around must be held in a bassinet. However, nurses do have their own policy list.

Poppick argued that because they are not a party to the criminal case, they do not have to meet the same threshold for turning over information. Kennedy is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor and a crime, and harassment, which is a non-criminal violation.

In general, Poppick argued that the subpoena information is too broad. During the arguments, Donahue appeared skeptical at times regarding the scope of the subpoena request. Gottlieb assured him that there is no intent to be invasive with privacy.

Poppick also doesn't believe that the hospital has any video to give for two hours before and after the incident. He said that footage is taped over, although he told Donohue that he would check on production.

Regarding the nurses' information related to credibility, Poppick criticized the request as violating a legal doctrine that limits using information to impeach people's credibility. The purpose of it, he argued, to to prevent there from being "side trials" and to avoid confusing juries.

Amy Puerto, the assistant district attorney present, expressed similar skeptical sentiments as Poppick. Regarding items from the DA's office, Puerto said, "everything we have has been turned over."

Regarding nurses' medical records, Puerto argued that such information is privileged and that no waivers were signed by them, adding that it would be "a significant invasion of the privacy," of the nurses to turn them over.

Puerto also said that physical injury is not relevent to the crime and that they have no intention of proving it.

In reply, Gottlieb criticized Puerto's remarks about injury proof, and in relation to if, did not rule out asking for a mistrial down the road.

Gottlieb argued that the materials requested relate to Kennedy's constitutional right to confront his accusers. Poppick disagreed, citing case law that places limits on criminal case discovery.

Both sides discussed having Kennedy's side do an inspection of parts of the hospital where the incident was alleged, with parameters for timing and security to avoid privacy conflicts with patients.

Donahue scheduled the next court date for Aug. 9, at 7 p.m., and is expected to rule on the quash motion by then.

After the arguments, Gottlieb talked to reporters and reiterated his position.

“Certainly Mr. Kennedy is no different than anybody else. We’re entitled to defend those charges and therefore we’re entitled to certain basic items."

Gottlieb also criticized the hospital for not agreeing to the subpoena.

“We don’t understand why Northern Westchester Hospital has decided to be obstructionist in this case," he told reporters. "They’re not a party to this, but for some reason the hospital has taken an active role in blocking access to us, to certain basic items that have never been denied in the past.”

One reporter asked why there has not been a plea deal in the case.

“There’s nothing to deal," Gottlieb replied.

Gottlieb was surrounded by members of the New York State Nurses Association, who came out by the dozens, dressed in red t-shirts, to support Luciano and Lane. During his press conference, some held up protest signs that turned into an unplanned background for Gottlieb.

“I so firmly believe in this country," Gottlieb replied to a reporter when asked for comment about the group, noting their right to protest.

The nurses present felt that Kennedy needs to be treated fairly in the case. A call for Kennedy to be charged with felony assault - a 2010 law has been cited for this - was reiterated.

Mary Ellen Warden, a Mount Kisco resident and NYSNA member, said she supports nurses doing their jobs, "and I wouldn't want to see justice minimized in this case."

"We'd like the law to protect us as the law reads," said Eileen Letzeiser, an NYSNA member and nurse at Westchester Medical Center, arguing that assault should be added as a charge.

Kennedy, a Chappaqua resident, and his wife Molly, came out of the courthouse moments later, as the crowd disappated. They did not hold a press conference but Douglas Kennedy briefly answered a few questions as he got into a car. He was greeted with cries of "shame on you!" by several women.

Bonnie June 15, 2012 at 02:14 AM
What no one is addressing here is the fact that Kennedy could have been anyone trying to take that baby - in other words, a kidnapper! - and the nurses were following hospital policy by preventing him from doing so. Kennedy and is wife should be grateful the nurses did their jobs so well. Imagine the repercussions if they had just let him walk out with that baby.
elizabeth o'loughlin June 15, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Congratulations and applause to the nurses who followed their legal and ethical duty to ensure the safety of the newborn, let alone followed best practice and hospital policy. Shame on the continued arrogance of the Kennedy family. G-d help the nurses had they done anything less and something had happened ...meanwhile this distraction took away from the other neonates and their mothers...
Brenda Laverty June 15, 2012 at 03:58 AM
YES WHAT IS jANET WAITING FOR?....A PADDED POCKETBOOK????this POS should have been brought up on multiple felony counts....after all he is a Kennedy!
Jeanne Gilholm June 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I'm so sick of hearing about the shennanigans the Kennedys pull off and actually believe they should get away with. They think they're above the rest of the world. Kudos to the nurses for doing their job. Shame on Douglas Kennedy.
Jeff Kent June 15, 2012 at 03:44 PM
As the Father he should have an ID bracelet that matches the baby's. Though it may have been hard for the nurses to see as he was kicking them...
Jeff Kent June 15, 2012 at 03:45 PM
The longer this drags on the worse Kennedy looks and the better the nurses look. It's great to see other nurses backing up teh excellent nursing staff at NWHC.
rene June 15, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I totally agree with P Shiels above, as a newborn RN of many years myself, you never carry a baby around the hospital and certainly never would allow a baby to go outside in a Tshirt, diaper and a blanket in Jaunary. Are you kidding me...that's child endangerment in itself! No staff member would have said ok to him! Kennedy is just trying to intimidate the RNs by asking for their records. He's looking to blame someone else for his own stupidity and crimes. Anyone else would have had CPS involved and would be paying the price of their crime by now...but not a Kennedy, who will drag things on forever. With any luck this will get settled by the time the kid goes to kindergarten.
Ross Revira June 15, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Douglas Kennedy must be the black sheep of the family he works for Fox News. How scandalous!
harmony June 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Shame on Douglas Kennedy, shame on CPS, and what about our District Attorney? And God bless the child and the women who are goinon through all of this because they protected the child in theiir care. A petition should be started and let the county see that there are a lot of people standing behind them.
Ellen June 15, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I believe it was in the 60s that day. Not typical January weather. Not really defending, just a comment. He should have been aware of security issues
Carol June 15, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Power and money protect those behaving badly from consequences. Look at the history and ask yourselves where you would be if you did any of the things that some in this family has skated on. Equal justice for all? Me thinks not.
Jeff Kent June 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Two of my kids were born at NWHC and there are signs warning you not to get too close to any of the exits or the baby's security bracelet will set off the alarm. Kennedy can read, right?
Carol June 15, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Those signs are for the "Little people ."
George in NY June 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Bottom line why would he want to take newborn out of nursery. If you want to take your child out of a walk ( newborn huh ) then wait until they are discharged. Kennedy's are some pieces of work!
lele June 18, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Well I think EVERYONE should attend mt kisco court on Aug 9, 2012. 6 PM. IF THE COMMUNITY shows up....maybe they will back down! To challenge the crediblity of the RN's. Imagine if he left the hospital and the state OR country with the baby????hmmmmm
Carol June 18, 2012 at 01:59 AM
His high powered lawyer isn't about to back down. I believe they will lose. The incident was caught on video tape. Not an issue of credibility. More of an issue of intimidation. Shameful behavior. Illegal behavior. Assault. He is the one with the credibility issue. Actually the whole incident was ridiculous . He ego got the better of him. Poor judgement and lack of respect for others.
Buche de Noel June 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Did the Mount Kisco police obtain serum toxicology from Kennedy when he was arraigned? It would be useful to know if he was under the influence of more than his genetic predisposition for violent misogyny when he REMOVED the GPS BANDS from his child which is a blatant violation of ALL hospital protocol. GPS bands are only to be removed by authorized nursery staff at discharge. That Kennedy had to be apprehended by two (male) hospital security guards while he attempted to flee the hospital (who runs from a hospital nursery after kicking and shoving the nurses?) speaks to a deeper problem in this 'father' unrelated in the extreme to his late fathers' assassination. That his 'lawyer' permitted Kennedy to invoke such a preposterous recollection speaks to a simple defect in both Douglas Kennedy and his lawyer: the inability to say, "I was wrong and I am sorry". It would have been simple for Kennedy back in January. Kennedy and his lawyer embody the genuine buffoonery and loss of impulse control emblematic in the males of his breed.
Steve June 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I have to agree with virtually all of the prior comments, particularly Carol. Mr. Kennedy's ego, the support of the MD that was present encouraging him with no authority to do so, lead to behavior that any clear thinking person wouldn't have done. Two nurses tried to explain that it is against hospital policy to remove a 2 or 3 day old infant from the ward, not only without authorization, but while walking around with the infant in his arms, but he still insists on following his own warped reality. Even upon discharge he couldn't have left the hospital carrying the baby the way he did. In my view, his attorney though known to be respected, and highly regarded comes across as much as clown as his client in this instance. Steve
Jeff Kent June 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM
He probably thought the whole thing would blow over and then the nurses pressed charges...rightly so it sounds.
JACQUELINE OHARA June 18, 2012 at 02:28 PM
excellent observation!!!!! what everyone knows about the "Kennedys" who think the rules do not apply to them. What was this man on at the time of this incident. ??????Where is the NYSDOH intheir investigation of this attempted kidnapping?????talk about child abuse. Pity this poor child and the legacy he will have.
Carol June 18, 2012 at 04:05 PM
The Nurses were following what is know as " Acceptable Standards Of Care". These are standards that the profession has established. Lawyers have their own standards to follow, as well as all licensed professionals. Does anyone really want to abolish these standards? Should everyone just do their own thing?
Buche de Noel June 18, 2012 at 09:11 PM
The NYSNA and the Hospital BOTH support the Nurses here. Kennedy stands alone with his nonsensical defense. He had three children before this one was born and is no stranger to nursery safety protocols. Kennedy simply decided that he would NOT be told what to do by two WOMEN and moreover, he would KICK and SHOVE them with IMPUNITY to prove his birthright as some sort of demented, ersatz ubermensch. This dolt needs a yank on his chain hard enough to send messages to ALL ENTITLED, out of control people who are 'visitors' in Hospitals and here is the message: You can't beat up the nurses and get away with it! How much more simple does this get??
Carol June 18, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Well said! It is just that simple...and yet.... Here we are. A message needs to be sent to this schlub. I just hope the justice system doesn't give him a pass because of his name. That doesn't serve anyone's best interest, including his. He should have learned this lesson long before now.
Aidan June 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM
It's a very good thing that Kennedy didn't mess with the wrong bull-nurse.
Francis T McVetty June 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Yes like trying to do that to Nurse Ratched .
harmony June 18, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Buche de Noel - your comment was excellent.
harmony June 18, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Perhaps he thought this would be a good photo opportunity for the Kennedy family. Father, newborn son, standing outside of the hospital for some positive press for the Kennedy name in lieu of all the bad press surrounding the Kennedy name. If that be the case, it really BLEW UP on him.
Portia Torte June 25, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Kennedy is playing with fire. He is pressing this to trial it seems, thinking he will be acquitted while it seems that the overwhelming evidence is that he will be convicted of a crime or crimes. Somebody who is not on his payroll should have a long talk with him about pursuing this course of action.
Carol June 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM
He is counting on the friends he has in high places.
Jennifer July 24, 2012 at 10:38 AM
YES? ! I am glad to finally read what I was thinking back in January. You NEVER carry a newborn in your arms on the maternity ward. The staff tells you to ALWAYS use a bassinet. To abscond with your newborn and attempt to use the stairs? An accident waiting to happen! The excuses of Mr. Kennedy's lawyers remind me of the wacko defenses the OJ team came up with back in '94-'95.

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