Kennedys' fantasy life
by Dan Niles
Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 at 10:39 AM
Kennedys' fantasy life
ted-kennedy-sailor.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x500
Kennedys' fantasy of omnipotence
Sen. Ted Kennedy once wondered "whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys." Of course, the distinguished Democrat from Massachusetts has been the author of many of his own problems. A case in point is the Palm Beach incident of 1991, when the famous senator went romping with his son Patrick (now a Rhode Island congressman) and William Kennedy Smith.
Klein is the first writer to have gone through the boxes of sworn statements, depositions, and other official documents associated with the ensuing rape trial. His chapter on the events of March 29, 1991 and what took place afterward are riveting.
A few scene-setting excerpts:
"Because few people had seen the Kennedy compound from the inside, the house had acquired a certain mysterious allure, and men in the family often exploited this attraction during the annual Easter hunt for women. The promise of 'a quiet drink at the house' was a surefire technique for luring women back to the compound for sex."
"Sex itself was never the primary purpose of these evenings; it was an opportunity for the Kennedys to put on a show of manly swagger in front of one another and to demonstrate that women were discardable objects."
"The Kennedys behaved as though they were invulnerable and had nothing to fear. Palm Beach was their seraglio, a place of licentious pleasure. It was there that they could drink themselves into a state of drunken senselessness and turn sex into a power game of seduction, manipulation, and control."
"Perhaps [Ted] was hoping that his young son and nephew could help a drunken, grossly overweight, middle-aged man get lucky again that night."
As it turned out, the two younger Kennedys each brought a woman back to the compound late that night, which happened to be Good Friday. Willy took his companion, Patty Bowman, to the beach just outside. There, according to Bowman, he raped her. What's more, she told a police detective that the senator must have known what was going on.
Klein describes the conversation: "'When [Willy and I] went to the beach, [Ted] was there, and I was screaming, No! and Stop, and I remember thinking, 'Ted Kennedy is here. Why doesn't he come down and stop this man?''"
If Ted Kennedy didn't hear Bowman, perhaps it's because he had become Peeping Ted. His son was in his bedroom with Michele Cassone. At the trial, Cassone spoke about what happened: "Patrick and I were ... making out, kissing. ... About ten minutes at the most later, the senator emerged through the door from inside the house ... and at this time he only has on a button-down oxford shirt. He has taken his slacks off. I didn't see if he had any Jockeys or boxers on [because the shirt] came halfway down the thighs. He was standing there, wobbling, and had no pants on. ... And I was just really freaked out."
Around this time, Bowman says she escaped from the clutches of Smith. She ran back into the house, hid, and then called friends on a cordless phone. They came and picked her up. Then Bowman reported what happened to the police.
Klein describes what happened next: "Teddy appeared to get himself tangled in a web of lies and contradictions." Many of his statements didn't seem to jibe with what others were saying about that night at the compound. "What's more, Teddy stonewalled the police and, at times, interfered with their investigation." When the police came to the compound on Easter Sunday, for instance, one of the senator's henchmen told them that Ted and Willy weren't there — even though they really were. Later on, the Kennedys leaked unflattering information about Bowman to the press, even though liberals aren't supposed to "blame the victim." NBC and the New York Times even used her name, despite Florida's rape-shield law.
Willy, of course, was eventually acquitted — rape convictions can be difficult to secure, especially when one of America's most powerful families has a vested interest in protecting their members. Yet it's impossible to read Klein's account and not think something awful happened that night — and that Ted Kennedy, that hero of Chappaquiddick, was a party to it.
Keep it in mind the next time Kennedy take to the floor of the Senate for a lecture on social justice.
Ted Kennedy: The Senator of Sleaze who was a drunk sexual bully... and left a young woman to die
Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy stood for sleaze. Bloated and drunken, he used his standing in the Kennedy clan to chase vulnerable women - which brought his dream of reaching the White House to a shameful end.
He was the youngest of the four Kennedy brothers, and by far the longest lived.
Incredibly, he was in line to inherit his brother John F. Kennedy's legendary presidency, but his chances were dashed following the drowning of the pretty, young campaign assistant Mary Jo Kopechne.
The hope of America that went so wrong: (From left) Jack, Bobby and Ted Kennedy in July 1960
Forever known as the Chappaquiddick Incident after the Massachusetts island where it took place, the scandal in 1969 broke the Kennedy grip on the White House.
A drunk Ted had been driving back from a party to the family 'compound' on Martha's Vineyard when he veered off a bridge and into a deep tidal dyke.
Drowned: Mary Jo Kopechne was killed after Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge with her inside
Mary Jo was in the back seat and, while he claimed he was just giving her a lift back to her hotel, it was widely thought that he had picked her up for sex. Kennedy swam ashore to save himself, but left Mary Jo to drown - in fact, it was even worse than that.
It was nine hours before he reported the accident. In the meantime, he walked back to his motel, complained to the manager about a noisy party, took a shower, went to sleep, ordered newspapers when he woke up and spoke to a friend and two lawyers before finally calling the police.
Divers later estimated that if he had called them immediately, they would have had time to pull out Mary Jo. She had not drowned, but had survived in an air pocket inside the car - she was asphyxiated only when the oxygen ran out several hours later.
As always, Ted used the family name to save his neck. In any other state but Massachusetts, the Kennedys' home turf, and with any other name, he would have been charged with homicide.
Instead, he escaped with a slap on the wrist: a two-year suspended sentence and the loss of his driving licence for a year. He had been allowed to plead guilty to no more than the charge of leaving the scene of an accident.
Kennedy lawyers arranged for him to pay £55,000 to the Kopechne family from his own pocket with a further £30,000 from his insurance. Mary Jo's mother later said: 'I don't think he ever said he was sorry.'
Mary Jo Kopechne
On July 18, 1969, Kopechne attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island, off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, held in honor of the Boiler Room Girls. It was the fourth such reunion of the Robert Kennedy campaign workers.
Kopechne reportedly left the party at 11:15 p.m. with Robert's brother Ted Kennedy, after he — according to his own account — offered to drive her to catch the last ferry back to Edgartown, where she was staying. She did not tell her close friends at the party that she was leaving and she left her purse and keys behind.
Kennedy stated he made a wrong turn on the way and came upon a narrow, unlit bridge without guardrails. Kennedy drove the 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 off the bridge and it overturned in the water. Kennedy extricated himself from the submerged car but Kopechne died, after what Kennedy said were several diving attempts to free her.
Kennedy contacted several aides that night, but failed to report the incident to the authorities until the car and Kopechne's body were discovered the next morning. Kopechne's parents said that they learned of their daughter's death from Ted Kennedy himself before he reported his involvement to the authorities, but that they learned Kennedy had been the driver only from wire press releases some time later.
A funeral for Kopechne was held on July 22, 1969, at St. Vincent's Roman Catholic Church in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, attended by Kennedy. She is buried in the parish cemetery on the side of Larksville Mountain.
A week after the incident, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury. He received a two month suspended sentence. On a national television broadcast that night, Kennedy later said he was not driving under the influence of alcohol nor had he engaged in any immoral conduct with Kopechne.
The Chappaquiddick incident and the death of Kopechne became the grist for at least fifteen books, as well as a fictionalized treatment by Joyce Carol Oates. Questions remained about Kennedy's timeline of events that night, about his actions after the accident, and the quality of the investigation and whether official deference was given to a powerful politician and family. The events surrounding Kopechne's death damaged Kennedy's reputation and are regarded as a major reason that he was never able to mount a successful campaign for President of the United States.
Kennedy murder case after 26 years
Girl found bludgeoned to death when accused was 15.
A family conspiracy helped a member of the Kennedy clan escape punishment for "furiously" bludgeoning to death a 15-year-old girl in one of America's most exclusive communities, a court heard yesterday - more than 26 years after a killing which has fuelled speculation ever since.
Looking blotchy, overweight and older than his 41 years, Michael Skakel, the nephew by marriage of the assassinated presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy, showed no emotion as the jury was told of "a concerted effort by the Skakel family to disguise the identity of the real killer of Martha Moxley," who was discovered beneath a pine tree near her parent's 26-room mansion in the leafy Connecticut suburb of Belle Haven on the night before Halloween in 1975.
She had been beaten with a golf club "so furiously that the club fell apart, and she was subsequently stabbed with a part of the shaft," prosecutor Jonathan Benedict told the court in Norwalk.
But Mr Skakel, then 15, and his 17-year-old brother Thomas - both of whom had spent time with Martha that evening - were "spirited away", Mr Benedict said, as part of a plan to deceive investigators "when the real truth lay under their nose all along".
The prosecution would show, he said, that Mr Skakel had confessed to the crime several times in the intervening decades.
That the case came to court at all is largely thanks to the campaigning of Martha's mother Dorthy Moxley, now 69.
The golf club was quickly traced to the Skakel household and Thomas Skakel became the prime suspect.
Since then the case has become an increasingly surreal nexus of American celebrity culture, drawing into its orbit a police officer accused of racism in the OJ Simpson trial, a literary agent who helped impeach President Clinton, and the county's most celebrated chronicler of crime among the rich and famous, Dominick Dunne.
Mr Dunne's conversations with Dorthy Moxley inspired his novel A Summer in Purgatory, which pins the murder on a lightly fictionalised Mr Skakel.
The book piqued the interest of Lucianne Goldberg, later famous for persuading White House staffer Linda Tripp to record her conversations with Monica Lewinsky - and eventually prompted a new investigation of the case by Ms Goldberg's client, Mark Fuhrman, best known for his alleged use of "racial epithets" during his investigation of the case against OJ Simpson.
In one final twist, Mr Fuhrman was present at the trial yesterday - in his capacity as a commentator for Court TV.
The prosecution case rests on several witnesses who claim Mr Skakel confessed his guilt to them - including a fellow pupil at a school for troubled children in Maine, who told the grand jury that Mr Skakel said: "I'm going to get away with murder. I'm a Kennedy." The defence, spearheaded by celebrity attorney Mickey Sherman, is expected to argue that Martha was killed by the Skakel's live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton.
Of the witnesses who say Mr Skakel confessed to them, Mr Sherman told the court yesterday: "It's a hell of a show - best selling authors, the Kennedy connection, a lot of fame, a lot of money, a lot of notoriety - ask yourself: why are they now coming out of the woodwork."
Marilyn Monroe continues to haunt an era. She was larger than life and died suddenly, prematurely, and mysteriously. Troubling questions still surround her death.
While many have despaired of the truth being told in their lifetime, 36 years after Monroe's alleged suicide startling new information has evolved regarding the circumstances of the film star's death. Recent statements by key witnesses, a re-evaluation of the autopsy report, and new documentation now establishes Marilyn Monroe was a murder victim, and that she died shortly after a violent argument with Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General of the United States.
The release of a top secret Central Intelligence Agency file documents what heretofore had been speculation. Dated 3 August 1962, the day before her death, the document establishes that Monroe's home had been placed under electronic surveillance by the CIA in the last months of her life. Concerned about her "trysts with the President and Attorney General", the CIA file states that Monroe kept a "diary of secrets", a journal of her private conversation with Jack and Robert Kennedy, and that she was privy to closely guarded government secrets.
While there always had been speculation that Robert Kennedy was involved with Monroe's death, the official story was that the Attorney General was in northern California that weekend. However, the retired Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates has now admitted that Kennedy was in Los Angeles on the day Monroe died, and in 1985 Eunice Murray, her housekeeper, revealed on the BBC documentary Say Goodbye to the President that Robert Kennedy had visited the film star's house in the hours before she died.
Norman Jefferies, Mrs Murray's son-in-law, was recently interviewed for the first time and proved to be an eye-witness to the events that took place at Monroe's home on the day she died. Jefferies said the Attorney General arrived with the actor Peter Lawford in the mid- afternoon of 4 August 1962, and there had been a violent quarrel. Jefferies revealed that Kennedy had threatened Monroe and her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, was called to quiet her down.
Jefferies stated that Kennedy returned at approximately 10 o'clock that evening with two men he didn't recognise. Told to leave the premises, Jefferies and Mrs Murray waited at a neighbour's house for Kennedy and the two men to depart. Upon returning to the house later, they found Monroe comatose in the guest cottage, where she died. Jefferies said Monroe's body was moved to the main house by officers of the LAPD intelligence division and that the "suicide in the locked bedroom" scenario was orchestrated by the intelligence officers.
A re-evaluation of Marilyn Monroe's autopsy report establishes that she didn't die of an overdose of sleeping tablets, but by an injection of a barbiturate. John Miner, Assistant Los Angeles District Attorney, who was present at the autopsy, has never been convinced that Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. Miner believes the evidence points to murder, and he has requested that the Los Angeles District Attorney's office re-open the case and have the her body exhumed. There's no statute of limitations on murder, and there's more than ample evidence to support the re-opening of the Marilyn Monroe case. John Miner and many others feel that Monroe should not bear the stigma of a "probable suicide".
The doors of officialdom in Los Angeles are not likely to open readily to a new investigation. On the other hand, if the case isn't re-opened and if witnesses are not called to testify under oath, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis may be proved correct in saying, "Marilyn Monroe will go on eternally."
The Twitter updates were frantic. The news cycle was in full swing. I participated too. I tweeted and updated my Facebook page: “Senator Ted Kennedy has died of brain cancer at 77.” Hundreds of people in just a few hours wished the Kennedy family well. They shared their condolences and reminisced about the life and times of the 77-year-old senator and his contributions to the United States' political landscape. He was called a champion of equal rights, health care reform, and working wages during his storied career.
MSNBC had nothing short of a tribute to Kennedy; CNN something similar. Fox had pundits discussing Kennedy's trials and tribulations as a 'lion' in the senate. Most seemed to have glowing admiration for the senator, but then I read a friend's comment on my Facebook page:
"Is this Ted, the guy who killed that girl drunk driving and tried to cover it up, Kennedy?"
I was somewhat confused. My friend hadn't been born in 1969 when before he became senator, Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off of a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy swam to safety, but the female passenger in the car drowned. Kennedy denied being drunk. Sources say Kennedy tried to cover it up.
Some argue that before Kennedy died, the widely revered senator from Massachusetts made up for his mistakes. He was considered a champion of civil rights for minorities including women and recently pushed for health care reform that would include all Americans while battling brain cancer. Apparently, past mistakes die hard too.
To many, Kennedy will be remembered as a lion of the senate but to some, a cowardly one.
SF Bay Area IMC
2940 16th St, Ste 216
San Francisco, CA 94103