Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s former inlaws angrily denied allegations today that she was mentally ill and would beat her husband in the years before she hanged herself in an abandoned barn at her upstate New York compound last month.
Kennedy, according to court papers obtained by Newsweek, accused his wife Mary Richardson Kennedy of pummeling his face, resulting in a black eye and a permanently damaged tear duct, killing the family dog, stealing from Kennedy's daughter from a previous marriage, and threatening suicide and blackmail.
The charges were included in explosive and confidential court documents dating from their 2010 divorce.
Richardson's siblings, who fought Kennedy in the days after her suicide for custody of her body, called the allegations "vindictive lies" told in the heat of ugly divorce proceedings.
"The scurrilous affidavit, which is the entire basis for the Newsweek article, was written by Bobby Kennedy as part of a contentious custody battle and was nothing more than a brutal psychological weapon in the divorce case," the Richardson family said in a statement released today by their lawyer.
"This latest piling on is proof perfect of the unbelievable emotional and psychological abuse that Mary endured during the last years of her life, and now in death. The false claim that Mary suffered from BPD [borderline personality disorder] is also an insult to those who do struggle with this serious mental illness."
In a bombshell document obtained by Newsweek, Kennedy accuses Mary of physically abusing him for years and says he told her family that a psychologist had diagnosed her with BPD.
"Mary's violence and physical abuse toward me began before we were married," Kennedy said the affidavit.
Kennedy said Mary went into a "sudden rage" and "hit me in the face with her fist," after she learned he maintained a friendship with his ex-wife.
"She was a trained boxer," he said. "Her engagement ring crushed my tear duct causing permanent damage. Mary asked me to lie to her family about the source of my shiner."
In sworn testimony, Kennedy said, Mary threatened to blackmail him, saying "she intended to kill herself unless I called off the divorce and unless I promised to recommit to the marriage."
Despite years of allegedly being abused by Mary, "she repeatedly says that she will call the police and say I beat her if I threaten to leave her," he said.
In addition to the abuse mentioned in the affidavit, the Newsweek article quotes Richardson's housekeeper who discovered her hanged body and said she was prone to drinking and bouts of depression.
"I saw her in the kitchen," the unnamed housekeeper told the magazine, "with her head down and I was like, 'Oh golly she's talking on the phone and crying," said the woman who worked for the couple since 1994.
"But then I got close to her and she was passed out. The plate of food was old and her face was on top of the plate. And that day she was drinking a lot," she said.
Kennedy also accused Richardson of continuing the abuse even after he move out of the family's Westchester home.
In one incident, Kennedy was called to the compound to console his children after Richardson ran her car over the family pet.
"Mary ran over and killed the dog Porcia in the drive way," he said in the affidavit.
When he came home, he said Richardson was extremely intoxicated in her son Aidan's bedroom.
"I opened the door and she leapt out of bed and hit me with a roundhouse punch that, had I not blocked it, would have undoubtedly broken my face… She screamed at Aidan as she hit me, [and called me] a demon."
Kennedy also accused Richardson of stealing things from his daughter Kick, discovering a collection of lost items hidden under Mary's clothes.
In the affidavit Kennedy requests full custody of the children, alleging that Richardson was mentally ill, had stalked him on vacation and stolen his passport, cell phones and prescription pills.
Calls and emails to Kennedy for comment were not immediately returned.