Kerry Kennedy: I didn't know I took sleeping pill

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Associated Press

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 26 at 1:07 PM

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Kerry Kennedy says she did not knowingly take a sleeping pill and get behind the wheel of a car.

Kennedy testified Wednesday in her drugged-driving trial in New York that she thought she had taken her thyroid medication but must have taken a sleeping pill by mistake.

Kennedy was charged after her Lexus swerved into a tractor-trailer on a highway in 2012. Blood tests detected the sleeping drug.

Kennedy says she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991. She says she takes the sleeping pills when she travels.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury a photograph of the two similar-looking pill bottles.

He showed another photo of the two different pills. Both were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Kerry Kennedy testified Wednesday that she did not knowingly take a sleeping pill on the day her Lexus swerved into a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway.

Kennedy said she thought she had taken her thyroid medication but must have taken a sleeping pill by mistake.

"I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication," she testified on the third day of her drugged-driving trial in White Plains. "I now know thanks to the tox lab that I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake."

Kennedy was arrested after her car hit the tractor-trailer near her home outside New York City in July 2012. She drove to the next exit, where she failed a sobriety test, police said.

The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.

Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to the time change when she travels.

She said the sleeping pills were on the counter on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs — one of the two similar-looking pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were white and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

Kennedy, 54, is the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy.

Lefcourt asked her about her background and her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, "I'm not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail."

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