April 25, 2013

Skakel slams trial attorney in Conn. murder appeal

Michael Skakel, who is serving 20 years to life in prison for the 1975 bludgeoning of Martha Moxley, says his attorney failed to track down a witness who supported his alibi and others who could rebut a claim he confessed to the crime.

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Michael Skakel testifies during his appeal trial at Rockville Superior Court in Vernon, Conn., on Thursday. Skakel argues trial attorney Michael Sherman got caught up in the limelight of the high-profile case and failed to prepare.

AP

After he was convicted, Skakel said, Sherman visited him in prison and admitted he messed up with his jury picks.

Sherman told him about a dinner he had with a former classmate from the reform school that was attended by actor Harrison Ford and singer Michael Bolton in which the classmate said in front of them that Skakel never confessed while at the reform school, Skalel said. He said Sherman could have called Ford and Bolton to testify.

Skakel's defense also argues that Sherman ignored a claim by a former classmate of Skakel's that implicated two other men in the killing. Skakel said he did hang out with that classmate in Greenwich in 1975, but on cross-examination he said he never saw the man the night of the murder.

A judge has rejected the claim as not credible.

Prosecutor Jonathan Benedict was limited to questioning Skakel about his testimony rather than the whole case.

"We were sitting back waiting for Mr. Skakel to make a slip and open something up, but he didn't," Benedict said after the hearing.

Dorthy Moxley, the victim's mother, has attended the trial every day and takes notes while listening with the aid of a hearing device.

"I don't think you can believe much of what he says," Mrs. Moxley said.

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