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Possible Witness in Smith Case Attempts Suicide

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A potential witness in William Kennedy Smith’s rape trial tried to kill herself, police said Friday.

Michele Cassone, 27, was treated for an apparent overdose of unidentified pills and was turned over to county mental health authorities for observation, authorities said.

She told police officers called to her home early Friday that she wanted to end her life, police spokesman Ralph Gephart said.

Smith, 31, is charged with raping a 30-year-old woman at his family’s estate in the early hours of March 30.

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Cassone went public with her story in April, saying she had gone to the estate with Patrick Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who is Smith’s uncle. She said she had cocktails with them there but never saw Smith or the woman at the estate.

Cassone said she was kissing Patrick Kennedy in a separate room later when the senator interrupted them. She left soon afterward, she said.

In another development Friday, the judge in the case denied most requests from defense attorneys for background on the alleged victim.

Circuit Judge Mary E. Lupo rejected 25 of the 35 defense requests for background on the alleged victim and reserved ruling on others. She agreed that Smith’s attorneys should know whether the woman has accused others of rape or sexual abuse and whether prosecutors have cut deals or made threats involving potential witnesses.

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The judge ruled that prosecutors need not give the defense information about the woman’s psychological background, abortions she may have had, any past drug and alcohol abuse or whether she planned to seek financial gain from the case.


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