The Magna Carta Is Just Toilet Paper If You’re A Kennedy
1969: Kennedy pleads guilty over car crash
Senator Edward Kennedy has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crime and has been sentenced to a two-month suspended jail sentence.
The verdict follows a tragic car accident on the island of Chappaquiddick, east of Martha’s Vineyard, a week ago in which 29-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne was drowned.
Ms Kopechne was a former secretary to Senator Kennedy’s late brother Robert.
Senator Kennedy was driving back to Edgartown, the main town on Martha’s Vineyard, from a party on Chappaquiddick when his car careered off a narrow bridge and into a creek.
He managed to escape from the vehicle but Mary Jo was killed.
He did not report the incident to Martha’s Vineyard police until the next morning, some eight hours after the accident.
Police found her body in the back seat of the overturned car.
This evening, the Massachussetts Democrat senator made a speech on national television defending his actions on the night of 19 July.
He denied any improper relationship with Mary Jo and said he was not driving under the influence of alcohol.
He said he was in a state of shock when he emerged from the creek and confused by “a jumble of emotions”. He added that he made several attempts to find Mary Jo by diving down into the water.
He gave up and said he remembers little of how he got back to his hotel in Edgartown except that he swam the narrow channel because there were no night ferries and nearly drowned in the process.
He acknowledged that he must now decide whether or not to resign as senator.
Sen. Edward Kennedy has just been Massachusetts state legislature to change the law requiring a state election to fill Senate vacancies. Involved in a battle with cancer, this is a sign the eight-term senator is contemplating retirement.
Massachusetts currently requires a statewide election to fill open Senate seats. The process is anticipated to take five months to complete. During that time, Massachusetts would only have one senator representing them.
According to Kennedy, in a letter at the top government officials, “it is vital for the Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of the citizens.”
This was not a concern of the legislature in 2004 [when the rules were changed to preserve] the state’s normal Democrat dominance [after they] had been cracked by the election of Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican. Democrat Sen. John Kerry was running for president and the state’s heavily Democrat legislature feared Kerry would be replaced by a Republican. Had this happened it could have shifted the balance of power in the Senate at the time. [But at the time Massachusetts’ law makers felt that] preserving Massachusetts’ Democrat representation was more important than a five-month vacancy.
Each state is allowed to set its own requirements for the election of Congress members. Most states allow the governor to appoint a replacement until a general election can be held or the current term expires.
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