The most powerful political dynasty in 20th-century America was the Kennedys. In addition to holding numerous Senate seats and, most famously, the presidency, they were able to get away with endless scandals. Except for Chappaquiddick.

The story begins with a young woman leaving a party with a wealthy U.S. senator. The next morning her body is discovered in his car at the bottom of a pond. The victim was campaign strategist Mary Jo Kopechne and the senator was 37-year-old Senator Ted Kennedy—who left her trapped underwater while he returned to his hotel, slept, and made phone calls to associates.

What happened next was a coverup involving one of the nation’s most well-connected families and its network of lawyers, public relations people, and friends who ensured Ted Kennedy remained a respected member of the Senate for forty more years.

The story of Chappaquiddick came to major prominence in 1988 with the publication of Leo Demore’s book Senatorial Privilege. A new edition, Chappaquiddick, is being released 30 years after the original Senatorial Privilege to coincide with the nationwide theatrical release of the movie Chappaquiddick starring Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, Bruce Dern, and Jim Gaffigan.

To talk about Chappaquiddick with us today is Howie Carr, an American journalist, author and radio talk-show host based in Boston. He has spent decades following local crime and dirty politics in New England and wrote the forward to the re-issue of Senatorial Privilege.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Chappaquiddick: Power, Privilege, and the Ted Kennedy Cover-Up

The Howie Carr Show

Kennedy Babylon: A Century of Scandal and Depravity

The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century