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Drug Experts, Family Testify In Kerry Kennedy Trial

Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy (center) exits the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains Tuesday following the second day of her trial.
Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy (center) exits the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains Tuesday following the second day of her trial. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The prosecution called its final witnesses and the defense began in the second day of Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy's trial in White Plains Tuesday.

Kennedy is facing one charge of driving while ability impaired from drugs, stemming from a July 2012 accident in North Castle. Kennedy, who is the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, niece of John F. Kennedy and ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has pleaded not guilty. She says that she accidentally took a sleeping pill before getting in her car.

The jury heard testimony from New York State Police Trooper Bradley Molloy and Elizabeth Spratt, a forensic toxicologist at the Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research. Molloy was called to the scene of the accident as a drug recognition expert after Kennedy failed field sobriety tests but registered no alcohol in her system.

Molloy said that Kennedy passed several drug tests administered at the police station hours after the accident. He said that he did not think she was impaired by drugs or alcohol, and thought she might have had some kind of medical condition such as a stroke or seizure. He also testified that Kennedy told him she might have accidentally mixed up her sleep medication and her thyroid medication.

Spratt testified on the effects of the sleep medication zolpidem, which she said typically begin to show with 15 to 45 minutes after ingesting the medication. She said that the effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, as well as some amnesia. She testified that she could not say when the effects may have started to hit Kennedy, or if Kennedy became aware of the side effects of zolpidem once they began to manifest themselves.

Following Spratt's testimony, Kennedy's defense lawyers tried once again to have the case dismissed. The prosecution has said that Kennedy should have pulled her car over once she became aware of the effects of the sleeping medication. Kennedy's defense lawyers argued that the prosecution's witnesses were unable to provide any evidence that Kennedy was aware that she had taken the wrong pill, and that the jury was being asked to speculate. The motion was denied by Judge Robert Neary.

The defense brought in a couple character witnesses to testify on Kennedy's reputation for honesty and sobriety. Rev. Gerard Creedon, a pastor at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Dale City, VA has known Kennedy since she was 13 years old, when she was living in Virginia. He spoke about her humanitarian work, and said that he had never heard anyone say a bad word about her honesty or sobriety.

Kennedy's younger sister, Rory Kennedy, also testified on behalf of the defense. She said that Kerry was her godmother and best friend, and that she was dedicated to truthfulness and healthy living.

The trial will resume Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

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