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Flashback: Watch Ted Kennedy’s 1969 Statement About Chappaquiddick

Flashback: Watch Ted Kennedy’s 1969 Statement About Chappaquiddick

“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.


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inspectorudy | April 6, 2018 at 1:17 pm

We have to not remember the “Sandwich” duo of Kennedy and Dodd to believe that the lion of the Senate was totally devoted to his wife and never had impure thoughts. Or also, to never remember the COLLUSION with Russia on an upcoming presidential election involving Ronald Reagan. If this man had been any other he would have been at a minimum charged with involuntary manslaughter. Leaving the scene of an accident, not reporting an accident, not offering any aid to a traffic victim and cowardliness in the face of danger, lying to authorities.

Ted Kennedy, The Liar of the Senate

    JOHN B in reply to Paul. | April 6, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    One of the sickest parts is where he claims to be defending her reputation. Like he is her hero – after killing her. And he got away with it.

I was in middle school at the time, and more interested in the hoped for moon landing than politics, but I remember the incident – mostly through a small blurb in the ‘B’ section of both local newspapers.

Then, it disappeared. Fifty years later, hollywood is all on it like a glacier on a moraine.

I can’t wait for the ‘Boozey Teddy Waitress Sandwich’ sequel in 2048.

I didn’t believe him then and don’t now.
He was the least talented of the Kennedy brothers and benefited from the sympathy their early deaths brought the whole family. Risky and irresponsible actions were mostly responsible for the demise of all of them. He got lucky and this only damaged his reputation and chance at higher office.
Anyone else would have spent some time in jail. I’m glad this story is finally being told so younger folks will have a chance to see how they really operated.

“At the end, Kennedy floats the idea of resigning from the Senate, suggesting that it’s really up to the people of Massachusetts.”

Confirming the depth of the “Masshole” reputation.

“Doctor Donald Mills, Associate County Medical Examiner, squeezed his fat hand into a pair of surgical gloves and stared down at the woman’s face. “This is Mary Jo Kopechne, gentlemen,” he announced in a business like manner. “Looks like she fought hard to stay alive,” he added. In Doctor Millss initial inspection of the body he noted that Mary Jo was wearing a blouse, a bra and slacks, but no panties. “Maybe she forgot them,” he offered to no one in particular.”

But there was nothing untoward going on between the young, innocent but pantyless staffer and the Senator from Massachusetts.

Hearing him all I keep having go through my mind is Clinton wagging his finger at the Citizens of the US stating “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.”

Both are about as believable.

Teddy boy’s only regret was the damage that it did to his loftier political goals. He was and always had been a pretty disgusting person. His stances and actions did harm to the US. I certainly do not miss this person being in the Senate, which he should have been thrown out of back then, let alone it becoming his life long seat. He never suffered any of the consequences of his actions. What a disgrace that a man who at the very least caused the death of a woman, was never held accountable for it, and all because of the Kennedy name. How is it that leftist politicians always get away with things that would have caused the ends of careers and even freedom had they been Republicans? I will never understand the double standard, and doubt we ever will see justice served against the Clinton crime family.

I’ve read “Senatorial Privilege” by Leo Damore … the book was about Chappaquiddick, and information was gathered by interviewing Kennedy friends and relatives. The corruption, lies, and favoritism was staggering. Also the fact that Kopechne survived an estimated hour or two submerged in an air pocket. Her fingernails were rubbed raw.

Kennedy panicked and made over 30 phone calls from the hotel payphone. His driving license had been expired for 6-months, and the charges would be more severe at arraignment on Monday with an expired license. SO … the motor vehicles department made him a new driving license on Sunday, which he surrendered the next day. How many of us can get the motor vehicles department to open on a Sunday?

The sheriff eventually resigned … he had it. He was forced to reduce his estimated speed of the crash for, again, reduced charges. Kennedy money, influence, and corruption was all over this. It makes an honest person want to puke.

Looking forward to seeing how this movie stacks up against the film “Chappaquiddick Chat” that was entered into the Kodak film awards program.

I suspect they will leave out the line …

“I cheated for you ‘wetbacks’ at Harvard”

What kills me most about the ad campaign for the film are the warnings about “historical smoking”. Give me a break!

YellowGrifterInChief | April 6, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Ted Kennedy’s actions paved the way for an utterly amoral man to be elected in 2016 by a bunch of thoroughly moral people, devoid of hypocrisy, and with god on their side.

    Once again, nothing to contribute. Go away YellowTroll, you are as they say a complete waste of very breathable air.

      4th armored div in reply to Shane. | April 6, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      his fingers tried typing obama but the keyboard didn’y belive that he could type an honest statement — obama the calypso low and wright anti semites bff

      YellowGrifterInChief in reply to Shane. | April 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      If it was up to Trump there would be no breathable air.

        Die Welt’s energy journalist, Daniel Wetzel: “Now the results are in: No country in the world saved more CO2 in 2017 than the USA.”

        On USA’s impressive reductions, Wetzel called it “bizarre”: “Foremost a development emerged that was quite bizarre: Of all countries, the USA under President Donald Trump was the world’s most successful climate protector.”

    “Ted Kennedy’s actions paved the way for an utterly amoral man to be elected in 1992 by a bunch of thoroughly immoral people, full of hypocrisy, and by rejecting god in their platform.”

    There. I fixed that for ya.

      YellowGrifterInChief in reply to murkyv. | April 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      What about Trump? Are you going to fix that? Of course not. As Trump said:

      I Could Stand In the Middle Of Fifth Avenue And Shoot Somebody And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters

      So drop the sanctimony. You don’t care whether Kennedy got away with something. You care that he was a liberal.

      Before you bother: Trump has gotten away with plenty through wealth and celebrity. You could find it if you want to – but you don’t want to.

    Red herring non-argument. Trump had nothing to do with Chappaquiddick. However, I do hold a grudge against “The Swimmer” for his Immigration Act of 1965 … rather, the Invasion Act of 1965. I remember the promises … our new immigrants will not overwhelm us, learn English, etc. Now when I’m in a large American city, I’m not sure if it’s an American city, or somewhere in Guatemala.

    Thanks, Ted. Burn in hell, you murdering bastard.

    Ha Yellow is funny. Lets keep him around for s & giggles.

    As for his statement it should read:

    “John F Kennedy’s actions paved the way for an utterly immoral man to be elected in 1992 by a bunch of immoral people, full of hypocrisy, and without belief in god.

Walker Evans | April 6, 2018 at 2:53 pm

So, does the movie note that two lives were lost in that “accident”? Miss Kopecknie was pregnant with Teddy’s bastard child when the “accident” occurred!

    DieJustAsHappy in reply to Walker Evans. | April 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Also of note, Joan Kennedy had two previous miscarriages. Shortly after Ted plead guilty in court, she suffered a third. It can only be speculated whether Chappaquiddick contributed in any way to this, especially since she also suffered from alcoholism.

casualobserver | April 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Progressives are desperate to remove all of our founding father from the public square. I won’t hold my breath on removing from sight all traces of this entitled cretin.

Chappaquiddick was never mentioned in the glowing tributes to Teddy Kennedy after he died. Had he been a Republican, it would have been the lead.

He was a hero !
Probably came to believe his own BS story over the years

filthy Kennedy clan needs to die the hell off. Sons of a criminal patriarch, one who stole the 1960 election, drunks, murderers, womanizers,all.

That slimy collection of bastards did the most damage familially to the traditional American way of life than any other.

It defies belief that this total reprobate, the since-canonized “Lion” of the Senate, was able to have a viable career in the U.S. Senate, of all places, after his contemptible and indefensible conduct in this incident. This fool should have earned a nice prison sentence for his actions (or, inaction).

Massachusetts morals. His undeserved political longevity is squarely on the rubes of that state.