Kerry Kennedy was acquitted on Friday of charges of driving under the influence. The 54-year-old daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy was charged with driving while impaired after swerving off the interstate in New York and sideswiping a tractor trailer.
Kennedy testified that she mistakenly took the wrong medication that morning before heading off to work. She accidentally ingested 10 milligrams of the sleep aid Ambien, though she had no memory of taking the incorrect medication. Toxicology results revealed the mix up.
Defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt said the prosecution only pursued the case because of Kennedy’s name. “You’ve got to wonder why an ill-advised prosecution like this was brought,” Lefcourt told CNN. “Is it because of who the defendant is? They concede that it was an accident and nevertheless they brought this case.”
Kennedy said her memory ended just before she entered the highway that morning. She recalls a knock on the window of her SUV and a police officer asking her if she was okay. “If I’d realized I was impaired, I would have pulled over,” Kennedy testified.
Still, prosecutor Doreen Lloyd accused Kennedy of lying to police and the public in order to “control her public image.” Lloyd unsuccessfully tried to convince the jury that Kennedy intentionally took a sleeping pill and proceeded to drive on the interstate in rush-hour traffic. “She knew right away that she had taken the wrong pill… And I submit she was looking for an excuse, to avoid responsibility,” Lloyd said in the courtroom.
“For ages prosecutors have been trying to make a name for themselves by going after famous figures,” said Mike Papantonio, host of Ring of Fire and a Levin, Papantonio shareholder. “This is a classic example of prosecutorial overreach. If there was any justice, Kennedy would be reimbursed for all the expenses that she has incurred during this sham of a trial.”