TODAY | October 23, 2012
>> douglas kennedy , son of the late robert kennedy , is now under way. he's charged with child endangerment and harassment following an incident at a hospital involving his newborn son. nbc's andrea canning is in mount kisco , new york, with more on this trial. good morning.
>> reporter: good morning, matt. back in january douglas kennedy said he wanted to take his newborn baby boy out for some fresh air at the hospital, but two nurses tried to stop him, and things got heated. monday here in court his attorney, he said that those nurses acted abracively and that his client was simply acting on instinct when he kicked one of them. a confident douglas kennedy arriving to court monday with his wife molly by his side.
>> feeling ready for this to start, and i thank you very much and hopefully everything will turn out okay.
>> reporter: kennedy is fighting the charges from a january scuffle all caught on surveillance video. two nurses say kennedy became violent after they tried to stop him from taking his two-day-old son out of the hospital without permission. things only escalated when a code pink and a code purple were declared indicating a missing baby and a dangerous person inside the hospital. on the witness stand monday the "new york times" reports nurse anna lane wiped away tears while describing how kennedy allegedly twisted her arm from the doorknob she was guarding, but under defense cross-examination lane acknowledged hiring a personal injury lawyer shortly after the altercation but says she wasn't seeking money, just a public apology, according to reports. the defense also questioned lane's motivation for speaking out to nbc news about the alleged assault back in march.
>> to be assaulted because you're protecting the best interests of a baby, that's not okay. i was doing my job.
>> reporter: kennedy , the son of the late robert kennedy and a fox news reporter has pled not guilty to the charges of endangering the welfare of a child and harassing nurses.
>> it's been very difficult for douglas and his family.
>> reporter: in opening statements monday, kennedy 's attorney argued the hospital had no policy banning fathers from taking their babies outside, and when kennedy , a father of five, kicked a nurse, he was acting out of instinct as a parent. legal expert karen de soto .
>> the defense is mainly going to say it was a spontaneous act, that he was merely trying to protect his child and, therefore, it doesn't rise to the criminal charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
>> reporter: in april douglas kennedy defended his actions publicly.
>> it is okay for a father to hold his son in his arms, and it is okay for a father to want to be with his newborn baby .
>> reporter: today in court more nurses are expected to testify. if douglas kennedy is convicted, he could face a fine or even up to a year in jail, and, matt, this trial is expected to last throughout the week.
>> all right, andrea canning. andrea , thank you very much.