Kennedy pleads guilty to DUI in plea deal

Rep. Patrick Kennedy pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence of prescription drugs and was sentenced to undergo court-ordered drug treatment and a year's probation.

Kennedy, a Democrat, also was fined at least $350 (Ђ278)in connection with his middle-of-the-night car crash last month near the U.S. Capitol building.

In exchange, two other charges against Kennedy were dismissed: Reckless driving and failure to exhibit a driving permit.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Kennedy entered his plea Tuesday before Superior Court Magistrate Judge Aida Melendez.

"I am pleading guilty to driving under the influence," Kennedy said. He is the son of Sen.l Edward Kennedy and nephew of assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Melendez ordered Kennedy to undergo court-monitored drug treatment, gave Kennedy a 10-day jail sentence that he would serve if he violated the terms of his probation, and ordered him to serve 50 hours of community service with the boys and girls club, reports AP.

"I've always said that I wanted to take full responsibility for my actions. Today in court I did just that," Kennedy told reporters outside the courthouse, adding that he was looking forward to "moving on to the next chapter of my life."

Kennedy has repeatedly maintained that he did not drink alcohol before smashing his car into a cement barrier in the early hours of the morning, although police on the scene said he appeared to be intoxicated. No sobriety tests were conducted at the scene.

Kennedy said he was disoriented from the sleeping pill Ambien and the powerful anti-nausea medication Phenergan.

Police said at the time that Kennedy had red, watery eyes, slurred speech and unsteady balance after the accident — his second in three weeks.

Rhode Island Democrats have endorsed him for reelection in November but the state Republican Party said he should consider resigning because there was no guarantee that he would be able to do his job effectively, informs ABC News.


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