WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Kerry Kennedy was swiftly acquitted Friday of drugged driving in a case that her lawyers said would never have been brought if she were simply “Mary Housewife” rather than a member of one of America’s most glamorous political families.
After four days of testimony, a six-person jury took a little more than an hour to find Kennedy not guilty of driving while impaired. She was arrested in 2012 after swerving into a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway in her Lexus.
The 54-year-old human-rights advocate – the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, niece of President John F. Kennedy and ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – testified she mistakenly took a sleeping pill instead of her daily thyroid medication the morning of the wreck.
If convicted, she could have been sentenced to a year in jail, though that would have been unlikely for a first-time offender.
Her lawyers made sure that the jurors knew all about her famous family. But after the acquittal, they said she should have been treated like “Mary Housewife.” And they accused prosecutors of giving her special treatment by refusing to drop the case.
The district attorney’s office denied the accusation.
In a show of the Kennedy clan’s famous loyalty, the defendant’s 85-year-old mother, Ethel Kennedy, attended the trial daily. Nearly a dozen other members of the family came by.