Douglas Kennedy spoke Thursday for the first time about charges he attacked two nurses in a hospital maternity ward, saying he was "only trying to protect" his baby.
The Kennedy heir was in court for a hearing stemming from his arrest on child endangerment and physical harassment charges. He was arrested in January after he fought with nurses as he tried to take his baby from a Westchester hospital.
"It is OK for a father to hold a son in his arms," Kennedy said after the hearing. "And it is OK for a father to want to be with his newborn baby. I know that in my heart."
Two nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital say Kennedy hurt them as they tried to prevent him from leaving with his baby in January.
Kennedy has pleaded not guilty. He says he wanted to take the baby out for fresh air. A state investigation found no evidence of child abuse.
Kennedy said to reporters outside the courthouse in Mount Kisco Thursday: "My father was taken away from me when I was a baby. And I think that is certainly what makes me appreciate me being with my son. The only thing I wanted to do that night was to be with son and hold him in my arms."
Molly Kennedy was at her husband's side in court.
"Unfortunately, our lives were turned upside down simply because my husband wanted to take a walk outside with our son," she said.
Kennedy's lawyer Robert Gottlieb said Kennedy is innocent and alleged the nurses were looking for monetary gain.
The state nurses association had a delegation in court. The two nurses involved in the case did not attend but in an earlier interview exclusively with News 4 New York, they said Kennedy attacked them.
Cari Malean Luciano, who is seen on surveillance video being knocked to the floor, said she thought Kennedy was breaking hospital rules by trying to take his newborn outside.
"My concern was for that child," she said. "And that was it."
Prosecutors said Thursday they are moving forward with the case. Kennedy is due back in court June 14.
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