NEW YORK (Reuters) - Robert F. Kennedy's son was trying to take his newborn baby for fresh air when he got into a confrontation with two hospital nurses that led to misdemeanor charges against him, his attorney said on Saturday.
Douglas Kennedy, 44, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of harassment following the January 7 incident at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, his lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said.
Kennedy, a Fox News reporter and the 10th child of the late Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, maintains he did nothing wrong. He was arraigned Thursday in Mount Kisco on the charges, Gottlieb said.
The clash occurred when the two nurses at the suburban New York hospital physically tried to stop Kennedy from taking his newborn son, Bo, out of the maternity ward, even though he had already received permission from other nurses, Gottlieb said.
"Douglas did not do anything wrong. All he wanted to do was to take his newborn son out for fresh air," Gottlieb said.
An attorney for the two nurses could not be reached for comment.
As Kennedy was leaning against a door to back out of the maternity ward, a nurse came toward him, Gottlieb said. Kennedy lifted his left knee and it came into contact with the nurse, "but only to protect his son," Gottlieb said.
The nurse fell backward, Gottlieb said. The second nurse accused Kennedy of twisting her arm, a charge he denies, Gottlieb said.
Kennedy returned the baby to the maternity ward rather than go outside, Gottlieb said.
Kennedy and his wife, Molly, said in a statement the allegations were "absurd."
"It is sickening to think that our simple desire to take our son outside for fresh air has been warped into a charge of child endangerment," the couple said.
Dr. Timothy Haydock, an emergency room physician at Northern Westchester Hospital and a close family friend, issued a statement through Gottlieb's office.
"I witnessed the incident and I can state unequivocally that the nurses were the only aggressors," Haydock said.
A spokesman for the hospital confirmed an incident occurred on January 7 on the maternity ward but declined to provide any details because of patient confidentiality.
Officials with the Mount Kisco police and the district attorney's office could not be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch in New York and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by David Bailey)