American Scene: RFK’s son wants nurses’ medical records in case

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MOUNT KISCO — A son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy claimed Thursday that he is constitutionally entitled to see the medical records of two nurses who claim he injured them when he tried to take his newborn son from a hospital maternity ward.

Disputes over evidence dominated a session in a court case charging Douglas Kennedy, 45, with physical harassment and child endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney, Robert Gottlieb, said Thursday the case will go to trial.

On Jan. 7, Mr. Kennedy tried to take his 2-day-old son from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, about 30 miles from Manhattan. He said he wanted some fresh air for the baby, but nurses tried to stop him, citing hospital policy. Hospital video recorded their scuffle, and Mr. Kennedy later was arrested.

In depositions, one nurse said Mr. Kennedy twisted her arm, and another said he kicked her.

Mr. Gottlieb said Thursday, “It’s our position there was no such contact, no such injury.”

MICHIGAN

Bing angrily denounces blocks to Detroit restructuring

DETROIT — Mayor Dave Bing lashed out Thursday against “people with personal agendas” whom he blames for stalling his efforts to pull the city from the brink of financial collapse - a rare expression of vulgarity-laced public frustration from a man who seldom lost his cool as a pro basketball player.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Bing said it was time to finally move toward solving the city’s budget problems after a judge dismissed a lawsuit he feared could have caused the city to go broke.

“I didn’t come here because I needed the job or I needed income,” the mayor said from his office in City Hall. “I came here for one reason and one reason only: to help fix a broken city. And when I see people with their personal agendas superseding what our own people need here, that’s what [hacks] me off.”

Mr. Bing didn’t mention anybody by name but acknowledged frustration after failing to get Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon, the city’s top lawyer, to drop the legal complaint. Earlier this week, the judge dismissed her lawsuit against the consent agreement that gave the state a bigger role in Detroit’s restructuring.

ALABAMA

Auburn slayings suspect to ask for venue change

OPELIKA — An attorney for a Montgomery man accused of killing three people in a shooting at a party near Auburn University said Thursday she will ask that his trial be held outside of Lee County, where the school is located.

Those hit hard by the shootings that killed two former football players gathered on a campus lawn later that day for a candlelight vigil for the victims. The three dead include two former Auburn football players, and current members of the team attended.

Earlier in the day, attorney Susan James said she was worried it would be difficult for Desmonte Leonard, 22, to receive a fair trial in Lee County because of the football-team angle.

“We need to get the trial out of Lee County. There’s so much interest in that there,” Ms. James said.

Ms. James was one of three attorneys appointed Thursday to represent Mr. Leonard when he said he couldn’t pay for his defense. Mr. Leonard, who is being held without bond, faces three counts of capital murder and two assault charges in the shootings that apparently occurred after a fight over a woman.

KANSAS

Blindfolded, bound children found at Wal-Mart

LAWRENCE — A suburban Chicago couple is behind bars and their five children are in protective custody after two of them were discovered blindfolded and with their limbs bound in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in eastern Kansas, police said Thursday.

Responding to a call from a concerned shopper Wednesday, police spotted a 5-year-old boy sitting on the ground beside a large SUV with his hands tied behind his back, his legs bound and a blindfold covering his eyes. As an officer approached the car, he noticed a man standing near the vehicle.

“When [the man] saw the officer, he tried to get away from him,” Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. The man ducked inside the vehicle and the officer, concerned that the man could be reaching for a weapon, used a stun gun and put him in handcuffs, Sgt. McKinley said.

A 7-year-old girl was found inside the vehicle, also bound and blindfolded, along with three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15, who were not restrained.

“This is an extremely unusual circumstance,” Sgt. McKinley said.

Officers found the children’s mother inside the Wal-Mart and arrested her, too, Sgt. McKinley said. He said he does not know why the two children were tied up and blindfolded. The adults were arrested on suspicion of child abuse and child endangerment. The 52-year-old father also was accused of obstruction.

FLORIDA

5 injured in Osprey crash at air base during training

NAVARRE — Military officials say five airmen were hospitalized after an Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed during training in the Florida Panhandle.

The CV-22 Osprey crashed Wednesday evening on Eglin Air Force Base property north of Navarre. The aircraft is assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing.

A Hurlburt Field spokeswoman said all five airmen on board the Osprey were injured and taken to hospitals. Their conditions were not available.

The extent of the damage to the Osprey was not immediately released. Air Force officials will be investigating the crash.

Hurlburt Field is the Air Force’s Special Operation Command headquarters.

Judge sets October trial for FAMU hazing suspects

ORLANDO — A judge has set an October trial date for 11 people charged with felony hazing in the death of a Florida A&M drum major.

An attorney for one of the people says the trial likely won’t start until next year, though, because of the number of defendants and witnesses who need to be interviewed.

Circuit Judge Marc Lubet set the Oct. 8 date during an arraignment Thursday. Only defendant Shawn Turner was in court because he had not hired an attorney. He was appointed a public defender.

Most of the other defendants waived their appearances.

Robert Champion died in November following what authorities have said was hazing on a bus after FAMU’s football game in Orlando.

CONNECTICUT

Man accused of driving off with woman stuck to car

BRIDGEPORT — A man was accused of fleeing a hit-and-run accident with the victim still attached to his fender and fighting to get free.

A van driven by Frank Rega struck a 23-year-old woman who was standing in front of a disabled car on March 15, police said. The woman became stuck on the driver’s-side fender, but Mr. Rega drove off, even as she was yelling at him and hitting him in the face in an attempt to get him to stop, police said.

She eventually fell off, struck the roadway and suffered a head injury, police said. She was treated and released from St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Mr. Rega, 56, of Monroe, faces numerous charges including reckless endangerment, reckless driving, evading responsibility and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the Connecticut Post reported. He was released after posting a $500 bond.

Monroe police arrested Mr. Rega at his home. As they were handcuffing him, he told officers he had acted in self-defense, police said.

 

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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