US

Ted Kennedy: The Controversy

Like other members of his family, Ted Kennedy was no stranger to controversy. Starting from being tossed out of Harvard to being charged with reckless, unlicensed driving at law school, Kennedy was plagued with what many have described as the "Kennedy curse."

Kennedy Controversy

Ted Kennedy on television tells his version of Chappaquiddick story.

Click here for a transcript and audio of the full speech.

In 1969, Kennedy's negligent driving resulted in the death of Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne, who was trapped in a car that Kennedy drove off a bridge into a pond after leaving a party in Chappaquiddick on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Kennedy did not report the accident until the car was discovered the next day. He vowed that he had not been drinking and made a televised address to the nation.

He got two months suspended jail time for leaving the scene but was not indicted by a grand jury in relation to Kopechne’s death.

Kennedy Controversy

July 22, 1969: Senator Edward Kennedy leaves airplane after arriving back from funeral of Mary Jo Kopechne in Pennsylvania.

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

Ted Kennedy Controversy

 July 31, 1969: Sen. Edward Kennedy walking into the Senate wing  in Washington, his first time back at the Capitol since the accident July 18, 1969 in Massachusetts with the death of Mary Jo Kopechne on Chappaquiddick Island.

AP

Ted Kennedy Controversy

Jan. 5, 1970:  Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and wife Joan as they arrived at Dukes County court house in Edgartown,  for the inquest into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. 

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

AP

Ted Kennedy Controversy

January 5, 1970:  Joan Kennedy, wife of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, leaves Dukes County court house in Edgartown, accompanied by Bill Barry a personal friend of the family. 

Joan had accompanied her husband to the court house but was unable to remain at the inquest into the death of Marry Jo Kopechne which was closed to the public. 

AP

Ted Kennedy Controversy

July 24, 1969: Edgartown Patrolman Robert Bruguiere as he announces in Edgartown, cancellation of the twice- daily news briefings on accident case involving Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. 

Kennedy is charged with leaving the scene of an auto accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, of Washington, D.C., died.

AP

Kennedy Controversy

Bridge Ted Kennedy's car drove off on Chappaquiddick Island.

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

Kennedy Controversy

Chappaquiddick Island Bridge, Massachusetts.

Kennedy Controversy

Ted Kennedy's car pulled out of water on Chappaquiddick Island.

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

AP

Kennedy Controversy

Ted Kennedy's car pulled from water on Chappaquiddick Island.

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

Kennedy Controversy

Ted Kennedy after pleading guilty to leaving scene of Chappaquiddick accident.

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

Ted Kennedy Controversy

Map shown on Sept. 2, 1969 locates places on Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, in the locale of car accident involving Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne. 

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

AP

Ted Kennedy Controversy

Aug. 25, 1969: View of the carving says "Ted + Marry"  at Chappaquiddick Island, scene of Ted Kennedy car accident. 

Mary Jo Kopechne died in car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy when it went it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond on July 18, 1969.

AP

Kennedy Controversy

Senator Ted Kennedy and second wife, Vickie Reggie Kennedy.

Kennedy credited his second wife Victoria Anne Reggie with turning him around and redirecting him back to his political career and liberal agenda. The two married in 1992, and she is said to have lifted him to success during his most difficult re-election campaign – against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Kennedy Controversy

Joan Bennett Kennedy, first wife of Edward Kennedy.

In interviews with People and McCall's magazines, Joan Kennedy confirmed rumors of her battle with alcoholism and her struggle to stay sober.  Ted and Joan announced plans to divorce in 1981.

Ted Kennedy: The Controversy

Like other members of his family, Ted Kennedy was no stranger to controversy. Starting from being tossed out of Harvard to being charged with reckless, unlicensed driving at law school, Kennedy was plagued with what many have described as the "Kennedy curse."

More From Our Sponsors