WASHINGTON: Edward Kennedy died last year of brain cancer at 77, after a long political career which partially redeemed the disgrace of fleeing a car accident, but the Massachusetts senator was subject to death threats before and after the assassination of his brothers, FBI documents released yesterday revealed.
Five years after John was gunned down in Dallas and soon after Robert was shot in Los Angeles, one letter warned he was next: ''Ted Kennedy number three to be assassinated on Oct. 25, 1968. The Kennedy residence must be well protected on that date.''
In 1985, he and the then president, Ronald Reagan, were named in another threatening missive. ''Brass tacks, I'm gonna kill Kennedy and Reagan, and I really mean it.''
The FBI has released more than 2200 pages of documents, saying on its website: ''These threats originated from multiple sources, including individuals, anonymous persons and members of radical groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, 'Minutemen' organisations and the National Socialist White People's Party.''
Some threats were passed on to Kennedy and police but there is no indication they were anything other than threats.
The FBI did investigate one threat, however - allegations that Robert's killer, Sirhan Sirhan, had attempted to hire a fellow prisoner to kill Edward.
The FBI documents reveal little about the 1969 accident at Chappaquiddick Island, off the Massachusetts coast, in which Mary Jo Kopechne died.
Kennedy was driving when the car left a bridge over a pond. He swam to safety, leaving his 28-year-old companion who was not found until 10 hours later.
The files show the FBI was told almost immediately of Kennedy's involvement but kept his identity quiet at the start.