US presidential candidate claims doctor told him a worm ate part of his brain

The claim comes from a 2012 deposition during divorce proceedings.

May 9, 2024 - 00:36

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed numerous health problems, including that a parasite possibly ate part of his brain, during a deposition made during a contentious divorce from his second wife about a decade ago, according to the New York Times.

The Times reported that Kennedy told attorneys in 2012 that a surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital reviewed his brain scans after suffering from memory loss and fogginess. The surgeon, he said, believed the issue “was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died.” POLITICO has not independently reviewed the deposition.

The 70-year-old independent candidate has made health, fitness and wellness a cornerstone of his campaign. Kennedy often claims that a top priority, if elected, would be to fight “the chronic disease” epidemic in the country, which include “autoimmune disease, diabetes, ADD and ADHD, autism, obesity, asthma [and] food allergies,” according to his campaign website. He has also posted himself on social media hiking, skiing, surfing as well as a viral video of himself doing shirtless push-ups to show his own health.

But in the 2012 divorce proceedings, the Times reported that he claimed numerous health ailments that affected his brain function and consequently his earning potential.

“I have cognitive problems, clearly … I have short-term memory loss, and I have longer-term memory loss that affects me,” Kennedy said in the deposition.

The Kennedy campaign did not respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

His divorce from Mary Richardson Kennedy, the mother of Kennedy’s four youngest children, was a drawn-out legal process, according to a 2015 unauthorized biography of the political scion by Jeffrey Oppenheimer. The divorce wasn’t finalized because Richardson Kennedy died by suicide in 2012.

Kennedy’s sister, Kerry Kennedy, allegedly visited Richardson Kennedy three days before her death, according to the book, to address finances in the divorce.

“Kerry was said to have been putting intense pressure on Mary that night and in the weeks before to sign Bobby’s divorce settlement agreement, described as a ‘very bitter, harsh, and Draconian proposal,’ limiting Mary’s custody of her children and slashing her financial support,” Oppenheimer wrote.

A friend of Mary’s told Oppenheimer that “Kerry had ‘hammered constantly’ at Mary to sign Bobby’s settlement and told her, ‘There’s not an endless pool of money; you’re making everybody broke.”

Robert Kennedy also argued in the deposition that his earning potential was diminished by his health struggles, according to the Times, which he said were, in part, caused by mercury poison from a diet heavy on fish.

The independent candidate recently told the Times that the physical symptoms of fogginess and memory loss that Kennedy claimed in the deposition had subsided.

When asked by the Times how his health issues would impact his ability to be president, a campaign spokesperson said, “That is a hilarious suggestion, given the competition.”

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