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Robert Kennedy son acquitted of child endangerment charges

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Douglas Kennedy, a son of slain Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was acquitted on Tuesday of child endangerment and harassment charges related to a confrontation with two nurses who tried to stop him from leaving the maternity ward with his newborn son.

Two maternity ward nurses physically tried to block Kennedy from taking his boy outside for some fresh air, which led to a confrontation in which Kennedy lost his balance and fell, according to a judge's ruling. The baby was uninjured in the fall.

Kennedy's actions in the January 7 incident violated the Westchester, New York, hospital's policy, Mount Kisco Town Justice John J. Donohue said in a 10-page ruling on the misdemeanor charges, but did not rise to the level of criminality.

"There was no evidence introduced ... that the mere act of taking his child outside the building would likely be injurious to the child's physical welfare," Donohue wrote in the ruling, which was faxed to the prosecution and defense teams on Tuesday.

The judge also noted that the temperature outside at the time was "60 degrees and the moon was full."

During the seven-minute confrontation, the nurses issued two hospital alerts, including a ‘Code Pink,' which is reserved for baby abductions, according to court documents.

In February, nurses Anna Margaret Lane and Cari Maleman Luciano, appeared on NBC's ‘Today' show and said Kennedy physically hurt them during the incident, although authorities did not charge Kennedy with assault.

On the NBC program, the two nurses sought a public apology from Kennedy.

Lawyers for Kennedy, 45, a Fox News correspondent and 10th child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, said in court the nurses were preparing to file a civil lawsuit against him seeking money.

Neither Kennedy nor the nurses were immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Peter Cooney)

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