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Kerry Kennedy drugged-driving trial to open in NY

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FILE- In this July 17, 2012 file photo, Kerry Kennedy, ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, is flanked by her brother Christopher Kennedy, left, and sister Rory Kennedy as she walks from the North Castle Justice Court in Armonk, N.Y. Jurors will hear Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, about Kerry’s morning routine and daily medications as they consider whether she’s guilty of drugged driving. The case against Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, goes to trial Monday morning in suburban White Plains. In 2012, Kennedy was arrested after her car hit a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway near her home in the New York City suburbs. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

FILE- In this July 17, 2012 file photo, Kerry Kennedy, ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, is flanked by her brother Christopher Kennedy, left, and sister Rory Kennedy as she walks from the North Castle Justice Court in Armonk, N.Y. Jurors will hear Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, about Kerry’s morning routine and daily medications as they consider whether she’s guilty of drugged driving. The case against Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, goes to trial Monday morning in suburban White Plains. In 2012, Kennedy was arrested after her car hit a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway near her home in the New York City suburbs. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2014 file photo, Human rights activist and writer Kerry Kennedy from the U.S. addresses the media at the European Parliament building in Brussels. Jurors will hear Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, about Kennedy’s morning routine and daily medications as they consider whether she’s guilty of drugged driving. The case against Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy and ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, goes to trial Monday morning in suburban White Plains. In 2012, Kennedy was arrested after her car hit a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway near her home in the New York City suburbs. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Ethel Kennedy was among the supporters who went to a suburban New York courthouse Monday for her daughter Kerry Kennedy’s drugged-driving trial.

Robert F. Kennedy’s widow walked slowly with an escort as she entered the courthouse in White Plains.

Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy, was arrested in 2012 after her car hit a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway near her home outside New York City. She drove to the next exit, where she failed a sobriety test, police said.

Blood tests revealed a small amount of the sleeping drug zolpidem. Kennedy said she accidentally took a sleeping pill instead of her daily thyroid medication.

Prosecutors said it’s up to the jury to decide whether she took the drug accidentally. And even if she did, they said, Kennedy broke the law if she kept driving after feeling the drug’s effects.

The evidence will include details about Kerry Kennedy’s morning routine and daily medications.

The case was being heard in state Supreme Court, a rarity for such a minor charge, but Kennedy’s lawyers successfully argued that the Town Court in Armonk, which had jurisdiction, was too small and poorly equipped for the trial.

A town judge and a state judge both refused defense efforts to get the charge dismissed, despite warm letters from family and friends extolling Kennedy’s work in human rights around the world.

Kennedy, 54, of Bedford, won permission from Justice Robert Neary to miss last week’s jury selection because she was on a human rights trip to Western Sahara.

Because the alleged offense is a misdemeanor, there are just six jurors. The trial is expected to last about a week.

Kennedy’s brother, Douglas Kennedy, took another minor criminal case to trial in 2012. He was acquitted in a nonjury case of child endangerment and harassment charges stemming from a scuffle in a hospital maternity ward in Mount Kisco.

Associated Press

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