The foreman of the grand jury that investigated Mary Jo Kopechne's death at Chappaquiddick in 1969 said he was approached by two "key lawmen" who said an inquiry wasn't needed, according to a published report.
Newsweek reported in its July 3 issue that grand jury foreman Leslie Leland, a pharmacist on Martha's Vineyard, said that the two men invited him to "a clandestine meeting" to discuss the case involving Sen. Edward Kennedy."There was a cover-up," Leland said. "All they were concerned about was protecting Teddy's political career."
Kopechne was killed when the car Kennedy was driving across a bridge on the Massachusetts island skidded into 8 feet of water. He surfaced quickly; Kopechne died in the car.
The Massachusetts Democrat failed to report the accident for 10 hours. He received a suspended sentence for the misdemeanor of leaving the scene of an accident.
In the months that followed, Leland received three anonymous death threats and for a time was under 24-hour police protection, the magazine reported. He nearly lost his pharmacy license when state officials did not send the usual renewal notice.
Leland said that after he had convened the grand jury, a prosecutor warned him to watch his step or the supervising judge might cite him for contempt. The judge refused to let the grand jury subpoena witnesses or to review the record of the coroner's inquest, he said.
The grand jury finally gave up.