Get out your bleep button, Brooke, because I'm going to let a few F bombs fly bleep. It's just after midnight on Saturday, July 19th, 1969, and the boiler room girls are ready to get the hell out of the cottage on Chappaquiddick, the last ferry to the vineyard departs in just under an hour and they plan to be on it. The girls roam around collecting their belongings, which are jumbled among empty glasses and ashtrays, piled high with buttons.
One of the girls picks up a pocketbook and calls out to the others, Hey, isn't this Mary Jo's?
OK, sorry to interrupt here, but what's the difference between a personal pocketbook? I don't know. I think a pocketbook carries the purse. OK, well, that's just not logical anyway.
The girl who picks it up gets a bunch of confused looks from the others, probably because they don't know what a pocketbook is. OK, not quite. They're confused because their friend, Mary Jo Kopechne, left ages ago with Ted Kennedy. One of the girls says, I guess she's coming back for it. We should probably wait for her. Someone else says, oh, she better not make us miss our ferry so the girls sit and wait for their friend to come back.
Meanwhile, Joey Gargon is in the kitchen tidying up. He's Ted's cousin and the guy who organized tonight's party. He's scrubbing dishes or whatever. When one of the guys burst in and says Senator Kennedy is outside, he wants to see you.
Joey steps outside and finds Ted sprawled in the backseat of Joey's rented Plymouth. His clothes are soaked, his hair is a mess. But when he speaks, his voice is calm. He says, You'd better get Paul. So Paul Markham is one of Ted's sailing buddies and one of the guys who was at the party, but in a past life, he was a U.S. attorney here in Massachusetts.
So like the state's chief law enforcement officer, when Paul comes out, they'll climb into the car. He says to Ted, what do you want? Ted says, There's been a terrible accident.
My car's gone off the bridge, down by the beach, and Mary Jo is in it.
Ted keeps talking, but Joey's already sprung into action. He scrambles into the driver's seat and jams the car into gear. There's only one thought running through his head as he races towards the bridge. Oh, dear God, please let her be alive. Even the rich is brought to you by soul mates, ABC's new series from the Emmy winning writer of Black Mirror and Stranger Things set 15 years in the future.
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You know everything you want from your politicians. Listen to bunga bunga on Apple Podcast's. From wandering, I'm Marysia Skidmore Williams, and I'm Brooke Ziprin, and this is Even The Rich. In our last episode, Senator Ted Kennedy, the youngest son of the Kennedy family dynasty, came to Martha's Vineyard to sail his boat in a regatta and then he drove his car off.
A bridge had managed to escape, but he left a woman trapped inside. Now Ted's in a pickle. Yeah. This is episode two, Dazed and Confused, Sheppey.
After Ted comes to cousin Joey and his lawyer friend Paul confessing there's a trapped woman in his car, they raced to the pond, Joey's car makes a sharp turn and slowly crosses the bridge. Ted points out the right window at his car upside down and completely submerged in the middle of a pond.
Joe is probably thinking, holy shit, that's what I was thinking. He swings the car around so the headlights shine down over the water.
Then he and Paul climb out, strip down and jump in while Ted stays on the bridge to keep watch.
The water's cold and the strong tidal current immediately drags Joey under and tosses him around. He reaches out and grab something on the underside of the car and holds on for dear life fighting to keep his head above the water. He feels for the side of the car and slides his feet down using his toes to try and find a door handle. But the current keeps spitting him back out into the pond. So Joey tries another approach. He swims to the front of the car and finds an opening.
It's big enough for him to squeeze through. He gropes around blindly. He can hear Ted yelling from the bridge. Can you see her? Is she in there? But Joey can't feel anything except water. That and his lungs begging for air.
So he swims to the surface and comes up gasping. He looks over and sees Ted lying on the bridge. He's wailing to the heavens. Oh, my God, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? Joey realizes Ted's no use, so he takes a deep breath and dives back in this time by holding on to the side of the car, he's able to find a door handle and he yanks on it hard. It doesn't budge.
He puts his knee against the body of the car and pulls still no lock.
And before he can try a third time, the current grabs him and hurls him away. Joey is a fighter, but even the best fighters know when they're outmatched. And Joey is no match for Pooka Bond.
I still can't believe this is all happening in a pond like you hear pond and you think like nature's equivalent of a kiddie pool or something. Ted's got to be thinking, Christ, my luck sucks.
You're not far off when Joey gets back to the bridge. Ted's lying there muttering. I just can't believe this happened. Well, Joey finally says, what the hell did happen? That says he doesn't remember much. It's all a blur.
The car went off the bridge. He remembers water filling up to his chest. And the next thing he knew, he was breaking through the top of the water. He knows he tried to dive back to the car to get Mary Jo out. And that's about all he can remember about what happened before he walked back to the cottage after hearing Ted's story.
Joey, sure of one thing we have to report the accident. Ted should call his lawyers and the police like now. But Ted, well, he's got other ideas.
He starts pitching Joey and Paul on an alternate series of events.
What if they say Mary Jo was driving and she dropped Ted back at the cottage, then continued on to the ferry, took a wrong turn and went off the bridge all by herself? Ted continues with a scenario. What if Joey takes him back to the cottage right now? Maybe people will think he's been there all along.
Then Ted could return to his hotel on the vineyard and pretend like he had no part in the accident whatsoever, leaving Joey to discover the car and reported to the police and to thank for all these years the Kennedys thought Ted was useless. I guess he just wasn't using his talent for covering up crimes or he's just useless. Yeah.
Joey is shocked by how quickly his cousin is able to whip up a cover story. He tells Ted his idea is way too risky. Witnesses might have already seen or heard the three of them on the bridge. Plus, no one's even sure Mary Jo knew how to drive.
Well, we know Ted can't. Oh, seriously. Joey also reminds Ted that Paul is a lawyer.
If he makes a false report to the police, he'll be disbarred. So, yeah, that plan is out. That's going to have to clean up this mess himself. And he's not happy about it.
You know, it just occurred to me, what, that Joey and Paul are still naked.
OK, no, they got just when they got out of the water, OK? And now fully clothed, they pile into the car and head for the ferry landing, even though it's 2:00 in the morning and the ferry stop running hours ago, they figure maybe they'll find someone hanging around who can help them get back to the vineyard, which is across the channel. As they drive, Joey keeps nagging Ted, trying to get it through his thick skull.
How important it is that he go to the police. But Ted just sits there sulking. They pull up at the deserted ferry landing. They can see the ferry boat docked on the vineyard side. One hundred and fifty yards across the channel, Joey starts nagging him some more. You got to go to the police, Ted. You have to. I mean, if that girl didn't get out, she's probably gone. If she did, she's probably already at the police station reporting you for leaving her there.
But Ted's had it. He snaps. All right. I'm tired listening to you. I'll take care of it. You go back to the cottage, talk to the girls, try not to upset them. He throws open the car door. Takes three steps towards the pier and dives into the water. Joey watches speechless as Ted starts swimming across the channel toward the vineyard, but there's nothing he can do except go back to the cottage and talk to the girls.
It's 230 a.m. when they get back and the cottage is as dark as the inside of a mailbox. Have you ever been inside of a mailbox? Yes, of course. Are you the one that's been stealing my mail?
You know, I like my coupons. The girls are spread around the cottage, curled up on couches and chairs, sleeping. Apparently, they got tired of waiting for someone to drive them to the ferry. A ferry they've missed by now anyway. Joey flips on the light and wakes everyone up.
Then he corrals the woman into one of the bedrooms where I picture them sitting on the edge of the bed and staring up at him like he's a camp counselor about to tell a ghost story.
It was a dark and stormy night and no one's wearing any pants.
Joey tells them a different tale. He says that Ted was down at the ferry landing, swimming around, and then he decided to swim back to the vineyard because the last ferry had left. Where's Mary Jo? One of the women asked, is she coming back? Joey tries to act all casual. He goes, I assume Mary Jo made the ferry and then he clams up like a clam. Clever.
So do they believe him? Yeah. I mean, why wouldn't they? And Joey figures it's better to keep them in the dark until Ted's had a chance to talk to the police, which is what he assumes Ted is doing. Little does he know he assumed wrong. That's not going to the police. When he reaches the vineyard, he stumbles up a side street and goes back to his hotel, the Shi'a town, in in his room. He changes out of his wet clothes, showers, and then puts on a dress shirt, blazer and slacks.
Then Ted leaves his room and strolls into the hotel's courtyard where he runs into the hotel manager. The manager asked her if he needs any help. At first, Ted says no, but then he complains about loud noises coming from a room next door. He asked the manager what time it is and the manager says to twenty five a.m., Ted nods or says thank you or whatever, and then he goes back to his room. Oh my God. He's trying to give himself an alibi.
Yeah, it seems like it. Back in his room, Ted curls up in his bed and goes to sleep. By seven a.m., he showered and shaved, he puts on his boating clothes, remember, it's still regatta weekend. All right. The fancy sailing event with yachts and snob's.
Yep. And Ted's doing what he would do on any other regatta weekend. First, he goes downstairs and asks the desk clerk to reserve him copies of the Boston Globe and The New York Times. Then he borrows a dime so he can make a call on the INS pay phone. OK, so before we go any further, I just want to recap the crazy past eight hours Ted has been through. He drove his car off a bridge. He almost drowned, and he left Mary Jo inside the car under the water.
Now she's either dead or on her way to the police, either outcome. Ted's in a tiny bit of your absolutely fucked trouble. So who do you think he calls? Does he call Saul? Nice guess, but no.
Ted's first call is to his dead brother's widow, Jackie Kennedy. Well, she's Jackie Onassis now.
He reaches her in Greece where she's living with her new husband. We don't know what Ted tells her, but we do know that at the end of the call, Jackie agreed to fly to Hyannis Port to be with the family. Damn, Jackie's a ride or die. Yeah. Ted's next call is to a woman named Helga Wagner. She's a beautiful stewardess turned jet setter. I think the modern word is flight attendant. True, but they still call them stewardesses back then.
OK, the important thing is that she knows how to fasten a seatbelt, put an oxygen mask on someone's head and use a seat cushion is a life preserver. Oh, and she also just so happens to be Ted's latest girlfriend. Ted met her when he was flying around campaigning for Bobby Helga. Those people and Ted wants the phone number for one of them, a guy named Steve Smith. Steve's a jack of all trades. He's a political strategist and he manages the Kennedy family fortune.
But his real talent is for making big problems go away. But Helga can't find his number. So Ted hangs up. And finally, the third and last call he makes is to his wife, Joan. I was wondering where Joan was.
She's at home in Virginia, six weeks pregnant. She's miscarried once before and her doctor has given her strict orders to stay calm and avoid stress. Once she picks up, he says something like, there's been an accident, a terrible, terrible accident. A girl drowned, Jonesy, and there was nothing I could do. I swear it. She says, don't worry. I believe you when you say it was an accident. And he says, I knew you would.
I can always count on you. That's according to a book by J. Randy Taraborrelli. And before they hang up, Joan says she's going to fly up to Hyannis Port.
ASEP, stand by her man. Give him two arms to cling to.
That song is ridiculous.
Yeah, it's now around eight a.m. Ted goes back about his morning like it's any other day in vacation land. He bumps into the winning skipper from yesterday's regatta and before long, they're out on the porch with a couple of other sailing types smiling and laughing and yucking it up. If you were there watching, you'd never guess anything was wrong.
But little does he know the police have already found his car. Oh, no. Oh, yes. We get support from thread up, thread up is the world's largest online thrift store, with up to 90 percent off estimated retail.
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Terms apply. It's around 8:00 in the morning on Saturday, July 19th, 1969, and Joey Gargon and Paul Marcom are riding the ferry from Chappaquiddick over to the Vineyard. They're going to look for Ted. They figure he went to the police the night before, told them everything, and with any luck, he'll be hiding out in his hotel room. So imagine their surprise when they walk up to the Chinatown in and see Ted out front gabbing like he's at some political fundraiser going like shit.
He didn't report it. And, boy, is he pissed.
Ted said he was handling it. He walks up to him without so much as a hello and says, I'd like to see you right now in your room. Ted's like, sure, when they get up to his room, Ted slumps on the bed. While Joey paces around, Paul tries to ease the tension. What happened? Yes, I didn't report it, Ted says. According to the book Chappaquiddick, Joey explodes. What the fuck is going on?
You were supposed to report the fucking accident. Ted says he thought Joey was going to handle it because that's what Joey's always done. But Ted said he was handling it.
Yeah, that's what Joey remembers, too. And the longer no one does anything, the worse it'll get. So he says, we're reporting the accident right now. Ted's like, fine, but I'm going to say Mary Jo was driving. Oh, God, not this again. I know Joey says you can't say that you can be placed at the scene. Yeah. By Joey and Paul. But Ted isn't ready to tell the truth.
He wants to make a phone call downstairs. And since Ted, his family, Joey's like, OK, one phone call, but Joey doesn't want anyone to overhear Ted talking.
So he suggests they go back to the ferry landing at Chappaquiddick where there's a payphone. And so back they go across a channel where Ted goes into the ferry house and uses a payphone to call his administrative aide heads looking for someone to take his side. But his aide is like, no, like Joey, he wants Ted to go to the cops.
Ted hangs up and looks around at the ferry landing. It's a normal summer morning. People are riding bikes and taking walks. Maybe no one's even found the car. And that's when a local who's just gotten off the ferry walks over. Senator, he says, do you know there was a girl found dead in your car? I guess the cat's out of the bag. Ted's, like, speechless. He's not sure what to say. The man offers him a ride over to the scene of the accident, but Ted wants to stay put.
A couple minutes later, two boats float across the channel heading towards the scene of the accident. The first is carrying a tow truck. The second is carrying a hearse busted. Now Joey is practically hissing at Ted, get your ass over to the vineyard and report this. Now, finally, Ted agrees he can't keep pretending like nothing happened and hoping it'll all go away. But he still hasn't decided what exactly he's going to say.
OK, here's a wild idea. How about the truth? I know, right? But remember, he's a Kennedy. True right now. He's the only boy his parents have left. He was like the clown of the family. He was perfectly happy sitting on the sidelines, letting his brothers shine and be all famous and they're politicians. But now he's expected to follow in their perfect footsteps and carry on this insane Kennedy legacy. They want to put him up for president.
He's supposed to be this model of good behavior. And instead, he's now crashed a car, left a woman inside and then fled the scene. Obviously, the press are going to destroy him and therefore his family name, not to mention the fact that his dad is bedridden. If he finds out about this, it could end up killing him. OK, but it's the right thing to do. Oh, I know. Except he's a politician and that's not their strong suit.
Good point. Ted and Paul head back across the channel together. Remember, Paul is a lawyer and he might need him, but Joey stays behind. He's got some unfinished business to take care of on Chappaquiddick, the boiler room girls, they're still at the cottage.
As Joey approaches the house, he sees them out on the road. They must have figured no one was coming for them and decided to walk to the ferry. Joey cruises up and tells them to get in his car. He takes them back to the cottage and tells them what happened. Ted drove his car off a bridge into the water and they can't find Mary Jo. Everyone knows Ted is a very public senator, one who might be running for president.
The girls figure this can't be good. One says, can't we have someone else driving the car? Another says, if you are a real friend, you'd say you were driving the car.
That's crazy. OK, I'm absolving you.
Now, if I ever commit a crime, I have zero expectations that you'll take the fall for it. Well, thank you, but I do expect you to break me out of prison. Well, yeah, that's what friends are for.
Sorry, I'll stop singing before he'll take the girls to the ferry. Joey insists they help him throw out every bottle, potato chip, pretzel and cigarette butt from last night's party. He wants the place spick and span so that if the police come by to check it out, it'll look like the site of the most tame party ever. In fact, it'll look like there wasn't a party at all.
At nine forty five that morning, Ted Kennedy walks into the two room police station on Martha's Vineyard and tells the starstruck officer on duty that he needs to make a phone call. The officer shows him into the chief's office and closes the door. There's one more person Ted needs to speak to before he's ready to tell the cops what happened last night. Actually, two people, Joe and Gwen Kopechne, Mary Jo's parents, he takes a deep breath and dials.
The companies want answers. And when Ted introduces himself, he can hear her tone change.
Suddenly, she sounds almost giddy. Ted's got to know this is one of the curses of being a Kennedy. Every regular person you meet is a little in all of you, which makes it kind of hard to deliver tough news.
But Ted plows ahead. He tells Gwen that her daughter was in a car accident. Gwen goes quiet for a second. Then she asks, was she killed? Ted hesitates. He says, yes, I'm sorry, through the receiver, he can hear Gwen let out an awful wail. Ted can't bring himself to tell her that he was the one driving. And that's awful.
Yeah, Ted's trying to collect himself when the policewoman comes in and tells him the police chief's on the line for him, he picks up the phone. Hello, Ted. The man on the other end says this is Jim Arina, chief of police. Jim Marino was that police chief who was first on the scene of the accident, the guy who borrowed the bathing trunks, right? Yeah, I love that guy.
He's been at the scene for the past hour as they towed the car out of the water. He says to Ted, I'm over here on Chappaquiddick and I have some bad news. There's been a tragedy. Your car was in an accident and a young lady is dead.
I know Ted says, do you need to speak to me? Sure. Arena says, do you want to come over here to the scene? And Ted says, I'd prefer for you to come over here.
And Irina says, sure, when it gets to the station, he's still wearing the wet bathing suit he borrowed to dive into the pond.
Can somebody please get that poor guy a towel? I know, right?
God, when Irina comes into his office, he finds Ted sitting behind his desk, relaxing in his chair. Irina says, Hello, Senator, I'm Joe Marina. Ted gives him a broad smile and says, Hello, Jim. And then perhaps realizing how weird it looks, he gets up and lets Arena have his desk back. Then Ted comes straight out with it. He tells Irina that he was the one driving. Irina is totally taken aback. He thought the woman was alone.
His theory was that she was out joyriding in Kennedy's car, but they still don't know who she is. The only piece of evidence he found was an ID card with the name Rosemary Kiyo. So Irina assumes that's the girl who's dead. He asked her if he knows Rosemarie's contact info so he can notify her next of kin. Ted gives him a confused look. The girl in the car isn't Rosemary. It's Mary Jo Kopechne. And I've already notified our parents and arenas like a Kopechne.
How do you spell that? Ted just shrugs. Lawyer Paul chimes in and says they can figure out how to spell it later. Right now, they've got bigger clams to bake.
OK, so what happens next is really weird. There's no other word for it.
Arina stops acting like his job is to uphold the law and starts acting like his job is to protect Ted Kennedy. He's supposed to get a statement from Ted, right. Instead, Arena brings him to an empty corner of the station to work on his statement with his lawyer. And then Ted ask Arena to go back to Chappaquiddick to look after his car. Ted doesn't want it being towed through the center of town like a public exhibit. Arenas like. Sure.
Anything to help, Senator? I'll go right away.
He doesn't even change out of his bathing suit. I think it's safe to say that bathing suit is has now agreed.
When Erina returns to the police station an hour later, there's a mob of townspeople and journalists outside waiting for him. The story has gotten out. Arena asked them to wait and hurries inside. He finds Ted in the corner where he left him, pacing back and forth, dictating his statement to Paul. It basically says Ted was driving the car and he didn't report the accident for ten hours because he was exhausted. And in a state of shock, he admits Mary Jo Kopechne was in the car with him and he tried to save her.
But because he doesn't know how to spell her last name, he just calls her Miss Mary Dash. Dash. I mean, I'm not sure I know how to spell her name either. Right. But Mary Jo was his brother's right hand woman. I just thought that was weird.
Yeah, but what's important is what he leaves out. He never mentions a party or the drinks or the girls. And then there's this. When I fully realized what had happened this morning, Ted writes, I immediately contacted the police. Wow. Sounds like a case of liar, liar, pants on fire. Yeah. When Arena's done reading, Ted asked him for a favor. He wants Arena to hold off on releasing the statement until he can run it by the Kennedy family's team of lawyers.
Arena agrees. And he does Ted yet another favor. He arranges a private jet to fly Ted and Paul off the vineyard as quickly as possible.
OK, so let me just get this straight. Ted crashes his car, kills a woman, waits hours before reporting it. Yep. And then when he does, the police chief just lets him go off in the corner and write a statement for an hour and then he gets him a fancy jet to fly home.
Yep, that's pretty much it. Wow. Damn rich people get away with everything, truly.
By mid-afternoon, Ted is on a Cessna five seater heading to the Kennedy family compound on Hyannis Port. He watches out the window as the island gets smaller and smaller below him.
He can just make out his car, beached like a whale in the Bank of Pooka Pond. He leans forward and says to the pilot, There goes the presidency.
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Just go to perfect snacks. Dotcom rich. That's perfect snacks. Dotcom rich today to get fifteen percent off your order. Perfect snacks. Dotcom rich. It's 4:00 in the afternoon on July 19th, 1969, and Ted pulls up in front of the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port. He feels this sense of total relief wash over him as he walks through the front door. He's out of the glare of a police investigation and back on home turf. Ted steps into the giant living room and, well, there's a bunch of guys in there and they all turn and stare at him.
OK, so remember Steve Smith, the fixer whose number Ted was trying to get from his mistress? Yeah, Helga, the flight attendant. Yeah.
Well, somehow Steve found out about the accident and summoned the old boy Kennedy Network to make sure Ted screw up doesn't destroy his future. It's like this who's who of political players? There's Robert McNamara, former defense secretary, Ted Sorensen, JFK speechwriter.
And now they're helping Ted out of a pickle out how the mighty have fallen. Seriously. There are 15 players here at the Kennedy compound. They're all loyal to the family and they're all united in wanting to make sure Ted doesn't get charged with manslaughter. Even an indictment could kill whatever chance he has left of running for president.
They're in damage control mode and they're masters at it. A guy named Burke Marshall speaks first.
He's in his late 40s with horn rimmed glasses and a side part. He's the family lawyer and always wears a suit in a tie. He's also one of the smartest men in the room. This is the guy who helped craft the Civil Rights Act and banned segregation across the country. Bobby Kennedy once said Burke Marshall has the world's best judgment. And in Burke's judgment, Ted needs to stop talking. He tells them not to answer any questions about the accident, not from the press, not from the police, not from anyone.
And then he picks up the phone and calls the Kennedy family doctor and asked him to come to Hyannis Port, a house call to him. It's good to be rich when the doctor arrives. He has had to tell him what happened. Ted's description is still full of gaps. He can't remember anything from the time the car hit the water until he came up for air. He was so shocked by it all. It took him until the next morning to go to the cops.
The doctor gives Ted a physical exam and he finds a half inch scrape over Ted's ear and an ugly bruise on top of his head. Diagnosis. He has a mild concussion. When the Kennedy spin doctors hear this, they're thrilled suddenly Ted's claim that he was too shocked to report the accident looks medically valid.
Now it's onto the next step of operation, clean up the mess they need to control the narrative. The spin doctors know the press is going to find out about this thing. So they've got to make sure that the only version of events the press hears is the one they give them. Ted says that's going to be a little tricky since he already gave the local police chief a written statement. The spin doctors are pissed. All eyes turn to Paul. He was acting as Ted's lawyer.
How could he let Ted write a statement without consulting them? He should have known better. They tell Paul to call Chief Arena immediately and get tough and lawyerly with him. Tell him that under no circumstances whatsoever should he let anyone see that statement period.
At the same time, Paul is headed for the phone. Chief Arena is leaving his office. Reporters have been circling around outside the station all afternoon. They want information and Arena decides he can't wait any longer. He steps into the hall and calls the press together.
Then he clears his throat and says, Senator Kennedy has given me the following statement.
And then he reads the whole thing. I'll paraphrase, I was driving the car and took a wrong turn and ended up on a bridge. The car went off the side and into the water. There was one person with me, Miss Mary, who I attempted to save. I was unsuccessful. I was in a state of shock. But I went to the police as soon as I could.
Sincerely yours, Zozo, Ted Kennedy.
He seriously xao OK, that was part of the paraphrasing. Anyway, the reporters are furiously taking notes while he reads and when he's done they ask him to read it a second time so they can get it all down. OK, you don't need to paraphrase it. Good. OK, fine. When the second reading is done they ask him to read it a third time. Oh my God. I guess they didn't have tape recorders then and wrote really slowly.
Anyway, while he's reading, he hears a phone ring, he excuses himself and goes back to his office to answer it. It's Paul who tells Arena in his toughest, most lawyerly voice. You know, that statement we wrote earlier today, do not release it to the press or anyone retro. Yeah, Arena says, I'm sorry, Mr. Markham. It's already done. And Paul is like, oh, shit. Yeah, and he's pissed. Arena tries to defend himself.
What else was he supposed to do? People were beating down his door. Too late, though. Paul's already hung up. Arina goes back out to face the reporters. They're bursting with questions. They want to know if Ted was at fault, was he drinking or negligent in some way? Now it's Arena's turn to try and control the narrative. He says there's no proof of Senator Kennedy's faulty operation of the vehicle. I've got to repeat again and say emphatically, there is no negligence involved in this accident.
A reporter shouts, Oh, come on, Chief. Ted Kennedy drove a car off a bridge. That was evidence of negligence, wasn't it? Now Rena is getting frustrated. I mean, he's the cop here. He says, what do you mean? Ah, come on, what's the matter with you guys? But the reporters keep firing questions at him. Why did the senator wait so long to report the accident? What was his relationship with Mary Jo?
Why did he take ten hours to report the accident? Why are you still wearing a bathing suit? OK, he's not wearing a bathing suit anymore.
What's he wearing? Well, that's not the point. OK, the point is Arena doesn't answer any of them. Instead, he leaves the medical examiner to deal with reporters and slinks into his office. Back at Hyannis Port, Paul Markham, the lawyer, is doing his own slinging. He has to tell the Kennedy machine he was too late to control the first damage. The police chief already released the statement. The spin doctors immediately go into overdrive. What were they in before?
Oh, just regular drive.
OK, now that the statement is out, they no reporters are going to be knocking on the doors of anyone who's even remotely connected to this thing. They need to get to Mary Jo's parents. So they dispatch an aide to visit the companies at their home in New Jersey. But the guy is too late. Reporters have already been to the house and talked to both of Mary Jo's parents, Gwen and Joe. And it's bad. Joe told them he was upset by the lack of detail from the Kennedy side.
He says the senator called them but didn't really explain anything. Gwen tells them she heard Ted was with Mary Jo at the time of the accident, but Ted didn't say anything about that when he called her. How could he leave out such a big detail? And then Joe drops another bomb. He tells reporters that Mary Jo told them she was going to a party with Ted the night she died. The reporters can't believe what they're hearing. There was nothing about any party in the statement.
Chief Arena read. What else did Senator Kennedy leave out?
How about the fact that he was downing rum and Cokes all night? Yep, he forgot to mention that. To Shachar, one of the reporters who interviewed Mary Jo's parents calls Ted's press secretary and asked all sorts of. Questions about the party, like who organized it, who was there, no comment is the only comment he gets. Then the press secretary hangs up and calls Hyannisport. After a quick chat with the spin doctors, the secretary gets back on the phone with a reporter and starts singing a different tune.
This time he tells the reporter, yes, there was a party on Chappaquiddick that night, but he says Ted only made a brief appearance and then for good measure to make sure he covers his bases. He says Ted's wife, Joan, planned to be there, which, of course, wasn't true because Joan was pregnant and on bed rest. So why did he say it?
I'm assuming because the boiler room girls were all there and they don't want it to look like Ted was trying to score or something. Meanwhile, back at Hyannis Port, the Kennedy spin machine tries to distract the press with a shiny new object. They get Bobby's widow, Ethel, to issue a statement about Mary Jo. Ethel says she was a sweet, wonderful girl and talks about how much Bobby valued her when she worked on his campaign. What she doesn't say anything about is the accident or that her brother in law, Ted, was involved.
The press seizes on that along with a whole host of details that don't seem to line up. They think the Kennedys are being cagey about details. Some of them start to wonder if this is a cover up, which provokes even more questions.
Why isn't Ted talking? Is he trying to hide something? What was his relationship with Mary Jo anyway? This is the Kennedy's worst nightmare. The situation is spinning out of control. The spin doctors are the brightest political operatives of their generation, but they can't seem to put a lid on the story and they're pretty sure it's going to be all over the papers tomorrow.
So someone's got to tell Joe Kennedy he's a family patriarch and he's upstairs in his bed where he's been confined for eight years, pretty much since he had a stroke. He needs to know a tornado is about to hit the Kennedy family. So as night falls on Hyannis Port, Ted trudges up the stairs to his father's bedroom. Joe looks even worse than the last time Ted saw him, but it's clear his mind is still sharp. According to the book, Last Lion, Ted sits down at Joe's side and says, Dad, I'm in some trouble.
Joe's eyes slowly open. Ted's not sure what to say next. He spent his whole life trying to live up to his dad's expectations and make the old man proud. But in the past 24 hours, he screwed up royally, like the kind of fuckup that may not be fixable. And he's about to bring shame to the family name. There's been an accident, Ted says, and you're going to hear all sorts of things about me from now on.
Terrible things, Joe Class Ted's hand and presses it to his chest. I've done the best I can, Ted says. Joe closes his eyes and turns his face to the wall. After a moment, Ted leaves the room. You know, I almost feel bad for him, but I feel way worse for Mary Jo and her family. Yeah, well, that's interesting because Mary Jo's parents are going to go through their own mixed emotions. So will Ted's wife, Joan, because this whole thing is about to go.
All sorts of crazy. Let me guess, that's on the next episode. What gave it away? The dramatic ending music. I hate you. This is the second episode in our three part series, Chappaquiddick, if you like our show, please give us a five star rating and a review and be sure to tell your friends subscribe on Apple podcast Spotify, The Wonder We app or wherever you're listening right now, join hundred plus in the wonder. We have to listen at free.
In the episode notes you'll find some links and offers from our sponsors. Please support them.
Another way to support us is to answer a short survey at one Drinka survey. We use many sources when researching our stories, including Vanity Fair and Town and country, but we especially recommend the books Last Lion by the team at the Boston Globe, Chappaquiddick by Leo Demmer and Jackie Ethel Joan. Women of Camelot by J. Randy Taraborrelli. I'm Trisha Skidmore Williams. And I'm Brooke Zafrin. Grand Flattener wrote this episode. LaDonna Pal Avoda is our editor. Our producer is Kayla Beissinger, Sound Design by James Morgan, Production Assistants by Sergio Henriquez.
Our executive producers are Stephanie Gen's marshmallowy and Hernan Lopez for wondering.
Bunga bunga is a new one Dary original podcast hosted by one of my favorites, legendary comedian Whitney Cummings, with her signature style of humor, Whitney recounts the outrageous true story of how one master manipulator hypnotized an entire country for decades using his incredible charm, immense wealth.
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