WASHINGTON — A bloodied William Kennedy Smith, who was acquitted two years ago on rape charges in Florida, was arrested and charged with assault and battery early Saturday after a brawl at a suburban Virginia nightclub and restaurant.
Smith, the 33-year-old nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), was released on his promise to appear on Dec. 3 in the Arlington County Criminal Court.
The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. inside the Bardos Bar and Restaurant, an Arlington establishment that boasts "a 100 CD jukebox" and a "giant outdoor beer garden."
A bouncer told police that he was assaulted by Smith when he tried to break up a fight between Smith and another man, who left the club before police arrived.
Smith later said he thought the bouncer was a friend of the man he had been arguing with. The bouncer, who was not identified, suffered facial cuts but refused medical attention, police said.
Smith, who was standing outside Bardos when police arrived, also had blood on his face. He, too, refused medical attention.
The two men were taken to the nearby Arlington County Courthouse, where a magistrate issued a warrant against Smith for assault and battery after a probable cause hearing.
Smith's attorney, Gregory Craig, said that a man had been harassing Smith about his highly publicized 1991 trial.
"My friends and I were hassled, baited and insulted by people who wanted to pick a fight with me," Smith said in a statement released by Craig. "It was a difficult situation, and I wanted to defend myself. I regret what happened."
Sen. Kennedy, who has a home in nearby McLean, Va., said in a statement: "I have spoken with Will, and as I understand it, it was a fight he never wanted and obviously regrets. It was an unfortunate incident. I love Will very much, and my heart goes out to him."
Smith was acquitted by a Palm Beach, Fla., jury in the high-profile rape trial. At the time, he was a medical student at Georgetown University. Smith is now doing a three-year residency at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which is affiliated with the Northwestern University Medical School.