Kennedy son fights for baby over hospital row

The son of Senator Robert Kennedy invoked his father's assassination in a court case over his attempt to take his newborn son from a hospital maternity ward.

Douglas Kennedy is charged with endangering the baby and physically harassing two nurses in the January incident.

"It is okay for a father to hold his son in his arms... my father was taken away from me when I was a baby," Kennedy said after the court session.

"The only thing I wanted to do that night was to be with my son and hold him in my arms."

Kennedy is the 10th of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. His father was assassinated in 1968 as he walked through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel after winning the California and South Dakota primary elections for the Democratic nomination for president.

On January 7, Kennedy tried to take his two-day-old son from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York state.

He said he wanted some fresh air for the baby, but nurses tried to stop him, citing hospital policy, and a tussle was recorded on hospital video.

The hospital reported the incident to police and the state's Child Protective Services. Kennedy was arrested in February. One nurse said Kennedy twisted her arm as she tried to keep him from leaving with the baby, and another said he kicked her.

Kennedy (44) said yesterday: "I was protecting my son from a complete stranger who tried to grab him from my arms."

A state investigation found no evidence of child abuse by Kennedy. That conclusion does not directly affect the child endangerment charge, but Mr Gottlieb has filed a motion to dismiss all charges.

Assistant district attorney Amy Puerto said the prosecution would fight the motion.