A son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, battling charges stemming from a scuffle with nurses in a hospital maternity ward, invoked his father's assassination in an attempt to explain the incident.
Douglas Kennedy, 44, appeared in court Thursday facing charges of endangering the baby and physically harassing two nurses in the January incident during which he attempted to remove his son from the ward, according to the Associated Press.
"My father was taken away from me when I was a baby," Kennedy said outside the courthouse Thursday. "It is OK for a father to hold his son in his arms."
On Jan. 7, Kennedy tried to take his 2-day-old son from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, about 30 miles from Manhattan. He said he wanted some fresh air for the baby, but nurses tried to stop him because the newborn had not been discharged, according to the AP. The incident ended with an altercation recorded on hospital surveillance video.
"The only thing I wanted to do that night was to be with my son and hold him in my arms," Kennedy said.
The hospital reported the incident to police and the state's Child Protective Services. Kennedy was arrested by Mount Kisco police in February.
In court documents obtained by ABC News, nurse Cari Luciano claims Kennedy attacked her.
"As my hand touched the shoulders of the baby, Douglas Kennedy, raised his right foot, and with tremendous force, kicked me in the left side of my pelvic area," Luciano said, according to the documents.
In the surveillance video, Kennedy is seen pushing one nurse to the ground.
"I was protecting my son from a complete stranger who tried to grab him from my arms," Kennedy said Thursday.
A group of nurses from the New York State Nurses Association stood outside the court house Thursday to show support for the prosecution of Kennedy. One nurse said that the nurses could have been fired if they had allowed Kennedy to leave with his son.
"It could be reported to the office of professional discipline, it could warrant a suspension, or a termination," Juliane Hatzel, a registered nurse, told WABC.
Kennedy's wife, Molly, calls the charges "absurd."
"It is sickening to think that our simple desire to take our son outside for fresh air has been warped into a charge of child endangerment," she said in a statement.
Kennedy's lawyer, Robert Gotleib, believes there are other motives behind the prosecution. He told ABC News in February he believes the nurses pressed charges because they want money.
"It has everything to do with certain individuals who have taken advantage of a situation to try to line their pockets," Gotleib said outside the court house Thursday.
Kennedy, a reporter for Fox News, is the 10th of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. He will appear in Mount Kisco Town Court again on June 14.