RFK's son wants nurses' medical records in NY case

AP News
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 6:00 PM
RFK's son wants nurses' medical records in NY case

A son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy claimed Thursday that he is constitutionally entitled to see the medical records of two nurses who claim he injured them when he tried to take his newborn son from a hospital maternity ward.

Disputes over evidence dominated a session in a local court case charging Kennedy with physical harassment and child endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said Thursday the case will go to trial.

On Jan. 7, Kennedy tried to take his 2-day-old son from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, about 30 miles from Manhattan. He said he wanted some fresh air for the baby, but nurses tried to stop him, citing hospital policy. Hospital video recorded their scuffle, and Kennedy later was arrested.

In depositions, one nurse said Kennedy twisted her arm, and another said he kicked her.

Gottlieb said Thursday, "It's our position there was no such contact, no such injury."

Northern Westchester Hospital has balked at providing the medical records, details of its internal investigation, personnel records and extended video. Its attorney, David Poppick, said Thursday that subpoenas requested by Kennedy were too broad. He also said there were privacy concerns.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto said Gottlieb is not entitled to documents "simply because he wants to look through them."

But Gottlieb told Town Judge John Donohue that everything he requested was relevant and Kennedy has "a Sixth Amendment right to present a defense."

The judge said he would rule by Aug. 9.

Afterward, Kennedy would not comment. Gottlieb said, "We're entitled to defend this case. Just turn over the records."

About 40 members of the state nurses' association demonstrated outside the courthouse and shouted "Shame on you" as Kennedy left. Eileen Letzheiser, an obstetrical nurse at Westchester Medical Center, said, "Nurses are obligated to protect patients. That child was a patient. Mr. Kennedy was not a patient."

Gottlieb has alleged that the nurses involved in the case are trying to "line their pockets." He said Thursday he was not aware of any pending lawsuits.

Kennedy, a reporter for Fox News, is the 10th of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. His father was assassinated in 1968.