NEWARK, N.J. -- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's wife, Nancy, was acquitted Thursday of charges of trying to harm a woman activist who confronted her husband with insinuations of homosexuality.
The judgment was announced by a municipal judge after a 2-hour trial at which both Kissingers testified and admitted Mrs. Kissinger had grabbed the pro-nuclear demonstrator by the throat and asked, 'Do you want to get slugged?'
'Her reaction was a spontaneous, somewhat human reaction to an offensive statement, as well as concern for her husband's condition,' ruled Judge Julio Fuentes, noting Kissinger was scheduled for heart surgery when the incident occurred.
'I'm glad it's finished and that it's over,' Mrs. Kissinger said after she was acquitted of the misdemeanor assault charge.
The incident occurred Feb. 7 at Newark airport as the Kissingers were traveling to Boston where the Noble Peace Prize winner underwent a triple by-pass heart operation three days later.
The complainant, Ellen Kaplan, 29, of New York, a volunteer with the pro-nuclear Fusion Energy Foundation, had been at the airport distributing literature for various organizations headed by Lyndon LaRouche, onetime minor party presidential candidate and longstanding Kissinger opponent.
Ms. Kaplan said the attack came after her companion asked Kissinger, whom her group considered a 'political enemy,' why he had prolonged the Vietnam War, causing the needless death of thousands.
She then asked, 'Is it true, Mr. Kissinger, that you sleep with young boys at the Carlyle Hotel?'
At that point, she said, Mrs. Kissinger 'came running at me' and 'grabbed' her throat.
'It hurt. I was very scared. She sneered, bared teeth and said, 'Do you want to get slugged?'' Ms. Kaplan testified. 'She wears braces and I was afraid I was going to get bitten. She held me for a couple of seconds. I just froze. I said, 'You better not.''
Despite her fear, Ms. Kaplan admitted she continued to make remarks at the Kissingers in a loud voice and to call them both 'chicken.'
Mrs. Kissinger, who said she was deeply concerned the encounter would cause her husband's heart condition to worsen, testified she 'pinched' the woman's neck to ensure they would not be harassed further.
Mrs. Kissinger said she also was asked by Ms. Kaplan, 'Was I sleeping with the security guard, except in cruder terms. 'Is the tall one servicing you?''
Kissinger, who recalled he 'had some experience with this group so I knew it wasn't going to be a pleasant situation,' said he kept walking after the remarks were made.