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Kerry Kennedy Testifies In White Plains In Drugged-Driving Trial

Kerry Kennedy, accompanied by her sister Rory, exits the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains on Wednesday.
Kerry Kennedy, accompanied by her sister Rory, exits the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy took the stand Wednesday to testify in her drugged-driving trial at the Westchester County Court in White Plains.

Kennedy is facing one charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs, stemming from a July 2012 accident in North Castle. Toxicology reports showed that she had a sleep medication in her system. She has pleaded not guilty, saying she accidentally took the pill instead of her thyroid medication.

During her testimony, Kennedy talked about her father, U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, mentioning that he was the U.S. attorney general during the civil rights movement and that he was killed while running for president when she 8 years old.

When questioned by her attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, Kennedy said that she did not realize at the time that she had taken the wrong medication and that she was impaired.

"No, if I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over. I wouldn't drive if I was impaired," she said.

She said her memory of the entire incident was jumbled, and that she could not remember any time from when she got onto Interstate 684 to when she was on Route 22 in North Castle and someone was knocking on her window.

"I was feeling dizzy and disoriented, very confused and scared about what had happened and the fact that I had no memory of it, and frightened by the fact that I had no memory."

Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd asked Kennedy about her history of taking the sleeping medication, dating back to 2010. She questioned whether Kennedy was taking the pills as her doctor recommended, and if Kennedy would be able to recognize the effects of the drug after she took it. Kennedy said that she always took the pills when she was traveling, and was usually in bed when she took them, so she did not recognize the effects.

Lloyd also asked why Kennedy did not look at the bottle before she took the pill, to make sure she was taking the right one. Lloyd demonstrated to the jury the short amount of time it would take to read the bottle's label.

"Would you agree me that that was careless of you?" Lloyd asked

"I would," Kennedy answered.

"You agree with me that it's your responsibility what you put in your body?" asked Lloyd.

"Yes," said Kennedy.

Lloyd also asked Kennedy about a statement she made to the media following her arrest, when she said she had a partial seizure, and if Kennedy was concerned about her public image. Kennedy said that she believed at the time it was a seizure, and she wanted to set the record straight.

The trial ended for the day after Kennedy finished testifying, and will resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

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