Kerry Kennedy in NY court for drugged-driving case

Updated at: 10/08/2013 7:05 PM
By DEEPTI HAJELA

(AP) ARMONK, N.Y. - Jury selection in a drugged-driving case against the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy is set for early next year, a judge said Tuesday.

The location is still to be determined, however, because of concerns the small-town courtroom may not be big enough for the high-profile trial.

Kennedy, niece of the late President John F. Kennedy and ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, appeared briefly before Justice Elyse Lazansky in the 60-seat courtroom in Armonk, just north of New York City. She made no comments after jury selection was set for Jan. 22.

Kennedy’s attorney William Aronwald, who estimated the trial would take up to two weeks, said she was frustrated about the fact her case has dragged on for so long.

"She’s anxious to put this behind her," Aronwald said. "She’s anxious to have her day in court and have this case tried."

Kennedy was arrested last year after swerving her luxury car into a tractor-trailer on an interstate near her home in nearby Mount Kisco. Police said then that she failed a sobriety test and blood tests found a small amount of a sleeping drug, which she has maintained she took accidentally instead of her daily thyroid medication.

The judge refused to dismiss Kennedy’s case in May, ruling a jury should decide "whether her intoxication was voluntary."

At that hearing, Kennedy’s defense recounted her work for social justice and included a large file of glowing letters from friends and relatives. Her mother, Ethel Kennedy, wrote that human rights activists around the world need her "compassion, keen insight, judgment and support."

Lawyers argued the Armonk courtroom wouldn’t be able to hold the expected spectators and reporters for Kennedy’s trial, and they’ve been scouting for a bigger space. It’s unclear when a location will be selected.

The Kennedy family has been prominent in the news in New York’s northern suburbs over the past year or so.

Kerry Kennedy’s sister-in-law and close friend Mary Kennedy hanged herself at her Bedford home. And her brother Douglas Kennedy was acquitted of child endangerment and harassment charges stemming from a scuffle in a Mount Kisco hospital maternity ward.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)