October 25, 2013

Kennedy cousin Skakel seeks bond release from prison

Michael Skakel won a new trial Wednesday in the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Lawyers for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel filed a motion Thursday seeking his release from prison on bond while he awaits a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley.

click image to enlarge

Michael Skakel, right, talks to Jessica Santos, one of his defense attorneys, in April during his appeal at state Superior Court in Vernon, Conn.

AP Photo/The Stamford Advocate

Skakel's conviction was set aside Wednesday by Connecticut Judge Thomas Bishop, who ruled that Skakel's trial attorney, Michael Sherman, failed to adequately represent him when he was found guilty in 2002 in the golf club bludgeoning of Moxley when they were 15 in wealthy Greenwich.

Skakel's current attorney, Hubert Santos, filed a motion Thursday afternoon in Rockville Superior Court seeking a $500,000 bond. If a judge approves it, Skakel could then post bond and be released from prison.

"We're very, very thrilled," Santos said. "I always felt that Michael was innocent."

Bridgeport State's Attorney John Smriga said prosecutors will appeal both the decision and the request for bond. He said they remain confident in the jury' verdict.

"The state's case relied on Michael Skakel's uncontested connection to the murder weapon, strong evidence of motive, substantial evidence of consciousness of guilt, nearly a dozen incriminating admissions and three unequivocal confessions," Smriga said in a statement.

During a state trial in April on the appeal, Skakel took the stand and blasted Sherman's handling of the case, portraying him as an overly confident lawyer having fun and basking in the limelight while making fundamental mistakes from poor jury picks to failing to track down key witnesses.

Sherman has said he did all he could to prevent Skakel's conviction and denied he was distracted by media attention in the high-profile case.

As of Thursday afternoon, no date for a bond hearing had been set.

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