(Reuters) - Jury selection began on Thursday in the trial of Kerry Kennedy, daughter of assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was charged in 2012 after swerving her car into a tractor trailer and driving away.
Kennedy, 54, is charged with one count of driving while impaired, a misdemeanor. No one was injured in the accident in a suburb of New York City. Kennedy initially said a partial seizure was to blame but a toxicology report showed that she had sleeping medication in her system.
Kennedy’s lawyers said she took the sleeping pill accidentally, mistaking it for another medication.
The charge carries a possible sentence of up to one year in county jail, but with no prior criminal record, Kennedy was unlikely to face jail time, said an official at Westchester County Court in White Plains, about 35 miles north of New York City.
A human rights activist and writer, Kennedy was granted a waiver to miss the jury selection while she finishes charity work outside the United States. She was expected to return to New York for the start of her trial on February 24.
Kennedy was ticketed and arrested after being found slumped in her white Lexus on the morning of July 13, 2012 in North Castle in Westchester County. Witnesses said she had been driving erratically and swerved into the tractor trailer on Interstate 84, then drove away. No one was injured.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Grant McCool