The Examiner

Kennedy Attorney Grills Nurses to Cast Doubt on Credibility

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Defense lawyers grilled two maternity ward nurses on Tuesday attempting to puncture their credibility by questioning their motives and knowledge of hospital policy in the second day of Douglas Kennedy’s child endangerment trial.

Attorney Robert Gottlieb continued cross-examination of Northern Westchester Hospital nurse Anna Lane for more than three hours in Mount Kisco Justice Court. Later, he quizzed veteran nurse Cari Luciano, at one point asking whether she or her ex-husband were responsible for leaking to the media the hospital surveillance video of the Jan. 7 scuffle between Kennedy and the two nurses.

Lane had testified Monday that she had her arm twisted by Kennedy when she tried to prevent him from leaving the third-floor unit via a staircase with his newborn son, Bo, to take him outside for fresh air.

On Tuesday, Luciano said she was knocked to the ground when Kennedy, who was carrying the two-day-old infant in his arms, kicked her on the left side of the pelvis as she reached out for the baby because it didn’t appear that hsi head was being properly supported.

“The baby looked like he was shaking. It looked like he wasn’t holding his head properly,” Luciano said of the incident during direct examination by prosecutor Amy Puerto. “When I reached out, Mr. Kennedy picked up his right leg and with a lot of force kicked me and I just went flying across the floor.”

The kick also caused Kennedy to fall backwards onto the landing of the staircase. He then picked himself up and headed down the stairs holding onto his baby until stopped by hospital security.

Under questioning from Gottlieb, Luciano, who has worked at Northern Westchester for 19 years, acknowledged she had asked the hospital for a copy of the surveillance video of the incident later that month. Luciano testified that she wanted to show it to her attorney, Elliot Taub, because she and Lane were contemplating a civil suit. She said they worried their reputations were being tarnished because there had been no criminal charges filed at that time.

“To this day you have no idea how the tape you had obtained leaked out?” Gottlieb asked.

“I thought it came from you guys,” Luciano responded.

“But you turned out to be wrong, correct?” he asked.

Gottlieb asked whether she or her ex-husband were responsible for the tape’s leak, which she denied.

A portion of the video that was replayed repeatedly on Tuesday showed a brief struggle between Lane and Kennedy and Luciano falling to the floor. It was also shown when Lane and Luciano appeared on The Today Show in late February to discuss the incident.

Gottlieb also posed questions about Luciano’s violation of a hospital policy and a subsequent internal investigation because she looked up medical information on the Kennedys following the incident. Luciano admitted that she had checked and accessed the information.

He then focused on whether she was aware of policies that prohibited a father from taking his newborn child out of the maternity ward.

“We’re talking about policies and procedures that are in place for the safety of the mother, for the safety of the baby and for the other babies in the unit as well,” Luciano said.

During the morning session and into the early afternoon, Lane completed her testimony. She described how on Jan. 7, Kennedy first headed to the elevator bank on the third floor holding his baby in his right arm. At that point, Dr. Timothy Haddock, the head of the Emergency Department that night, had appeared, telling the nurses that it was okay to let Kennedy go downstairs. However, the nurses weren’t familiar with Haddock and asked Kennedy to return to his wife’s room.

Lane, who sits on a hospital policy committee, was questioned by Gottlieb about her knowledge of policies, including if she was aware of any that prevents a father from leaving the floor with his newborn. But he said that the adoption of the policies she cited all predate her arrival in 2002.

Gottlieb then asked why a rare Code Pink, which is for the abduction of an infant, was activated.

“The intent of the Code Pink policy to keep infants safe and to keep them in the unit,” she said.

Lane said that unless they receive permission from the attending pediatrician or if a baby is ready for discharge they do not permit a newborn to be taken off the floor.

But Gottlieb looked to establish that there was nothing prohibiting Kennedy from leaving.

“Where is it written that a father can’t take his baby out for fresh air?” he asked.

“There is no policy that states that,” Lane responded.

“Where is it written that an emergency room doctor has less authority than you have?”

“It’s not written anywhere.”

Before Luciano testified, another nurse on duty at the time, Marian Williams, took the stand. She said she called out during the commotion for Kennedy to stay on the floor and was shocked when he kicked Luciano.

“My shock was the kick, (that) a parent with a baby in his arms would hit a nurse who’s trying to help,” Williams said.

Court will reconvene on Wednesday at 1 p.m. with the continuation of cross-examination of Luciano.



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