The state attorney investigating the alleged rape of a 29-year-old woman by William Kennedy Smith wants attorneys for both sides to show him their evidence before he decides whether to charge the nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
David Bludworth's proposal to allow "all parties involved present evidence" before he decides enraged Police Chief Joseph Terlizzese, whose department has handled the investigation into the March 30 incident at the Kennedy family's oceanside estate."That's crazy," Terlizzese was quoted Saturday in The Miami Herald. "I've never seen this kind of procedure before. It doesn't make sense."
State attorneys routinely meet with police to determine if charges should be brought. Bludworth could also let a grand jury decide if Smith should be charged.
"It's too hot for him to handle. This smells to me like a political decision," one detective told the newspaper.
But Mark Schnapp, one of Smith's attorneys, said there is nothing unusual about a prosecutor meeting with both sides before deciding to prosecute.
"When I was a federal prosecutor, I routinely met with defense attorneys. Common sense dictates you should get both sides of a story," he said.
The Kennedy family has hired detectives to investigate the Jupiter woman's allegations. They have reported that the encounter between Smith, a 31-year-old Washington medical student, and the woman ended with a good-night kiss, not a rape.
The woman's attorney, David Roth, accused the Kennedy investigators of bullying witnesses and obstructing justice. Schnapp denies it.
Police refused to reveal what crime lab technicians were looking for Friday when they searched the beach near the Kennedy compound. The beach has been washed clean by 26 high tides since March 30.
The woman, a single parent, told police she returned with Smith to the compound after dancing with him at a Palm Beach nightspot. She said Smith gave her a tour of the estate and walked with her on the beach.
When Smith decided to skinny-dip in the ocean, she said she started walking back to the house, planning to leave. Then she said Smith tackled her near the swimming pool and raped her while she struggled and cried, "No."
Through his attorneys, Smith condemned the woman's account as a "damnable lie."
Detectives expect to receive this week a medical report on the woman from Humana Hospital, where she was examined after the alleged rape. A police report said the woman had several bruises and a possible fractured rib.