Patrick Kennedy says Smith saw events as a 'setup'

May 15, 1991|By Michael Crook and David Zeman | Michael Crook and David Zeman,Knight-Ridder News Service

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Patrick Kennedy called the woman in the Kennedy estate case a "Fatal Attraction" character and testified that his cousin, William Kennedy Smith, told him after the episode that he thought he was being "set up."

Mr. Kennedy's account came from more than 1,000 pages of witness statements and reports that police released yesterday.

"In my view this was a person, like I said, sort of a 'Fatal Attraction' you couldn't get rid of and was saying all sorts of wild things and that is the way he had conveyed it to me," said Mr. Kennedy, 24, a Rhode Island legislator and son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

In "Fatal Attraction," an obsessive character played by Glenn Close refuses to end a torrid affair after her lover wants to break it off. In the film, there is no rape.

Mr. Smith is charged with the rape of a 29-year-old Jupiter, Fla., woman March 30 on the lawn of the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach.

Patrick Kennedy quoted Mr. Smith as saying later that morning: " 'God, this is really crazy.' " The two men shared a bedroom.

And about two days later, Mr. Kennedy said, Mr. Smith told him, " 'This is really a setup, isn't it?' "

In a statement to prosecutor Moira Lasch, Mr. Kennedy said he told Mr. Smith, "It looks that way to me."

The morning after, Mr. Smith told his cousin that he had had sex with the woman and did not use a condom.

Patrick Kennedy, explaining why he did not talk to police before he left Palm Beach that weekend, said that the whole thing was "surreal" and that he wasn't taking it seriously.

When he found out that someone had taken an urn and a framed photograph out of the house that night, Mr. Kennedy said, "I thought, bingo, it is probably Willie's whacked-out friend."

The batch of documents released yesterday also included contradictory statements.

According to Anne Mercer, a friend of the woman, the woman told her that "she'd been raped twice," once on the beach and once inside the estate. "And then she said the first time that Senator Kennedy was watching," said Ms. Mercer, who picked up the woman at the compound that morning. Ms. Mercer said the woman was hysterical.

Asked about Ms. Mercer's account, the victim said, "I don't know what happened after I called [Ms. Mercer]."

In five statements to police and prosecutors, the woman, often in tears, described the incident in detail. The woman said she had at least four or five drinks that night after a taking a sedative for back pain at 8 o'clock that evening. The muscle relaxant, Carisoprodol, can impair a person's mental facilities, especially if mixed with alcohol.

After taking the sedative, she had two glasses of wine. She then shared a bottle of Chianti with Ms. Mercer and her boyfriend, Chuck Desiderio, during dinner. She bought a bottle of champagne at Au Bar, which she shared with Ms. Mercer and others.

The woman gave varying accounts of Mr. Smith's taking off his clothes to go swimming in the ocean after a walk on the beach. In one statement, she said she left the beach as Mr. Smith undressed; in other statements, she said she left after he entered the water.

And she also gave different reasons for not swimming with Mr. Smith: The water was cold; she hardly knew him; she couldn't swim; she hadn't regained her figure after having a baby two years earlier.

The woman told investigators that she removed her panty hose sometime that night but could not recall when. She said she may have removed them in the kitchen at the Kennedy estate before walking on the beach.

Attorneys for Mr. Smith criticized the release of the documents, saying they didn't contain evidence that could help clear their client. If convicted, Mr. Smith could face as much as a 4 1/2 -year prison term.

Among the documents released was a statement from an "eyewitness" -- Patrick Barry, son of William Barry, a former FBI agent and longtime Kennedy family friend.

He said he looked out a window in the seaside estate early March 30 and saw "two shapes or a shape or something" on the lawn near the swimming pool.

Prosecutor Lasch asked Patrick Barry: "When you saw that shape, did it look like they were lying next to each other or were they on top of each other or sitting up? What do you mean by shape?"

Patrick Barry replied, "I couldn't really tell what they -- just looked like two people either lying next to each other or, you know, one on top of the other, I couldn't tell, because it was pretty dark." He added that he only looked at the "shape" for about 10 seconds before going back to bed.

He said he didn't hear any screaming.

The accuser said she screamed both during the incident on the lawn and inside the house afterward and wondered why the senator and others didn't rescue her.

In a statement, Senator Kennedy said he persuaded his son, Patrick, and nephew, Mr. Smith, to get dressed at midnight March 29 and go out "for a few beers." They went to trendy Au Bar, where all three met the Jupiter woman, among others.

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