Nurses taunt Douglas Kennedy at Mt. Kisco court

NEWS 12 WESTCHESTER: Robert F. Kennedy is facing charges of harassment and child endangerment. (June 14, 2012)

About 50 nurses shouted, "Shame on you!" as Douglas Kennedy waved and responded with, "Thank you. Thank you," following a court hearing in Mount Kisco on Thursday involving the attempted removal of his infant son from a hospital. Kennedy then zipped off in a gold Jaguar.

The 45-year-old son of the late Robert F. Kennedy faces misdemeanor child endangerment and harassment charges stemming from a Jan. 7 scuffle with two maternity ward nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital.

Dressed in a blue suit, Kennedy was accompanied by his wife, Molly, and his six-member defense team.

During the 90-minute hearing, Kennedy's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, asked Judge John Donohue to order the hospital to turn over the nurses' medical and work records as well as additional videotape of the incident.

Gottlieb said he needs the records to impeach the credibility of the two nurses when they testify at trial. Although prosecutors already have handed over several minutes of videotape of the incident, Gottlieb asked for an additional four hours so he can identify potential witnesses.

"We're entitled to certain basic items," he said. "Mr. Kennedy is no different than anybody else."

Hospital attorney David Poppick countered that the facility had no obligation to comply with the requests because it isn't a party in the case.

"We shouldn't be required to incur the time and expense" to procure the records, he said.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto said prosecutors have turned over all their evidence to the defense. The additional videotape likely does not exist because the hospital reuses the surveillance tapes.

"The people have turned over everything we're required to and then some," she said.

Donohue did not rule on the matter and set the next court date for Aug. 9.

Kennedy, who has pleaded not guilty, mixed it up with nurses Anna Margaret Lane and Cari Maleman Luciano after they objected to him trying to take his 3-day-old son Daniel Boru on a walk outside. Security video showed the nurses blocking Kennedy from getting on an elevator and using a stairwell.

The nurses said hospital guidelines indicate that a newborn can't leave the ward without written permission, which he didn't have.

Kennedy said one of the nurses attempted to snatch the baby from his arms. Luciano told police she was trying to stop Kennedy from "violently shaking" the child.

One nurse said Kennedy kicked her in the pelvis and the other said he twisted her arm. The video shows a woman falling to the floor before security officers prevented Kennedy from leaving the hospital.

The Office of Children and Family Services determined that Kennedy had not abused the baby.

On Thursday, one of the nurses protesting against Kennedy outside the courtroom said he had exerted "violence against two defenseless women" who were trying to protect their patients.

"The Kennedy name may be famous across the country," said Eileen Letzeiser, who works at Westchester Medical Center. "But to us, all that matters is our patients."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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