“tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me”
On July 15, 1969 a full seven days after the crash that claimed the life of Mary Jo Kopechne, Ted Kennedy gave a televised statement about the incident. ABC News published a new video of the event yesterday which you can watch below.
There are no reporters present to ask questions, of course. It’s just Kennedy, reading a carefully prepared statement. You can tell as you watch that Kennedy knows his national aspirations are over.
Here’s a partial transcript via American Rhetoric:
My fellow citizens:
I have requested this opportunity to talk to the people of Massachusetts about the tragedy which happened last Friday evening. This morning I entered a plea of guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Prior to my appearance in court it would have been [im]proper for me to comment on these matters. But tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me.
On the weekend of July 18th, I was on Martha’s Vineyard Island participating with my nephew, Joe Kennedy — as for thirty years my family has participated — in the annual Edgartown Sailing Regatta. Only reasons of health prevented my wife from accompanying me.
On Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha’s Vineyard, I attended, on Friday evening, July 18th, a cook-out I had encouraged and helped sponsor for a devoted group of Kennedy campaign secretaries. When I left the party, around 11:15pm, I was accompanied by one of these girls, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne. Mary Jo was one of the most devoted members of the staff of Senator Robert Kennedy. She worked for him for four years and was broken up over his death. For this reason, and because she was such a gentle, kind, and idealistic person, all of us tried to help her feel that she still had a home with the Kennedy family.
There is no truth, no truth whatever, to the widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been leveled at my behavior and hers regarding that evening. There has never been a private relationship between us of any kind. I know of nothing in Mary Jo’s conduct on that or any other occasion — and the same is true of the other girls at that party — that would lend any substance to such ugly speculation about their character. Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor.
At the end, Kennedy floats the idea of resigning from the Senate, suggesting that it’s really up to the people of Massachusetts.
Watch the video, especially if you’ve never seen it. This is fascinating:
ABC obviously published this footage because the film “Chappaquiddick” is opening this weekend.
I will write a review of the film which will be published Sunday, right here at Legal Insurrection.
Featured image via YouTube.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.