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Kennedy Scandal Expert: Ted Would've Beaten 'Chappaquiddick' Even Today

(Newsmax TV's "Newsmax Now")

By    |   Friday, 06 April 2018 05:09 PM

Even in today's world of cellphone cameras and relentless 24-hour news cycles, Sen. Ted Kennedy still would have ducked more serious charges from his car accident in Chappaquiddick in which passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died, says Howie Carr, author of "Kennedy Babylon: A Century of Scandal and Depravity."

"It would probably be a lot harder for the case to be groomed the way it was in 1969. But I still think Kennedy would have skated," Carr, a Boston Herald columnist and host of Newsmax TV's "The Howie Carr Show," said Friday to John Bachman on "Newsmax Now."

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"There just would have been more scandal. But there was no way he would've gone to prison or would ever go to prison now."

Carr made his comments as a dramatized account of the accident, "Chappaquiddick," starring Jason Clarke as Kennedy, Kate Mara as Kopechne, and Bruce Dern as Kennedy patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy, opens in theaters nationwide.

The accident occurred on July 18, 1969 when Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a one-lane bridge and into a tidal channel. He swam away and did not report the accident to the police for ten hours. Kopechne, 28, a political campaign specialist working for Kennedy, was later recovered inside the submerged vehicle.

Kennedy, who said he regretted not reporting the accident immediately, but denied he had been drinking, pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury and was slapped with a two-month suspended jail sentence. Some believe Kopechne was trapped alive inside Kennedy's car and unable to escape, but could have been rescued if the senator had sought help immediately.

"The interest this movie and the reissue of [my] book has produced is due to the fact that there is a double standard here. There is one standard for the rich and the privileged like Ted Kennedy and another standard for anyone else," Carr said.

"By any stretch of the imagination, Ted Kennedy should have at the very least been charged with drunk driving, maybe even manslaughter or vehicular homicide. And he just got one simple charge of leaving the scene of the accident. It was ridiculous. No normal person would have been treated this lenient."

Carr believes that one of the main reasons Kennedy got a pass was because of the tragedy his family had been through, with his one brother President John F. Kennedy being assassinated in 1963 and his other brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who was running for president, being assassinated in 1968.

If the accident had happened in 2017, "probably there would be a lot more pressure on him," Carr told Bachman.

"People would have cellphone photographs, you'd see pictures of the body of Mary Jo Kopechne being taken out of the water, you'd probably see scratch marks [from Kopechne] on the roof of the Oldsmobile. Someone would take a shot of them and they'd be all over the internet."

Still, the Kennedys, Carr said have a lot less clout than they once had.

"Look at Chris Kennedy, the son of Bobby Kennedy [and chair of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises], he ran in Illinois two weeks ago for the Democratic nomination for governor. He finished third, third! In a big Kennedy state like Illinois. They don't have the clout. Even Joe Kennedy, I don't think [Rep.] Joe Kennedy is going too far in politics, either," Carr said.

While Chappaquiddick dashed Kennedy's dreams of becoming president, he served seven terms as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and earned the nickname "Lion of the Senate."

"Chappaquiddick," directed by John Curran and released by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, is rated PG-13 for thematic material, disturbing images, some strong language, and historical smoking.

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Even in today's world of cellphone cameras and relentless 24-hour news cycles, Sen. Ted Kennedy still would have ducked more serious charges from his car accident in Chappaquiddick in which passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died, says Howie Carr.
howie carr, ted kennedy, chappaquiddick
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2018-09-06
Friday, 06 April 2018 05:09 PM
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