Criminal Justice

Skakel Lawyers: Prosecutors Withheld Evidence in Murder Case

After being convicted in 2002 of a murder committed in 1975 in upscale Greenwich, Conn., when he was a teenager, Michael Skakel has already served six years in state prison.

But lawyers for the Kennedy family cousin say in a federal court motion filed late yesterday that he might have been acquitted at trial of murdering Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old neighbor and friend, if prosecutors hadn’t withheld two key pieces of evidence in the high-profile case, reports the Hartford Courant.

Prosecutors didn’t reveal that another teen may have had knowledge of the crime, according to information reportedly provided to police. And they didn’t reveal that Rochester, N.Y., attorney John M. Regan Jr., who represented the family of a star prosecution witness, said the witness, ex-con and drug addict Gregory Coleman, was not to be trusted, Skakel’s counsel contends.

Fairfield County State’s Attorney Jonathan Benedict declined to comment on the filing, the newspaper reports.

When first informed by a prosecutor that Coleman was expected to be a witness, “I was incredulous and commented that I hoped he was not serious that he was going to use Gregory’s testimony to accuse someone of murder,” Regan said in an affidavit filed with with the motion. “He responded by telling me not to worry, that they had plenty of evidence, and that they were going to ‘get this guy.’ “

Although Coleman died prior to Skakel’s trial, the government was allowed to present evidence to the jury from a transcript of Coleman’s grand jury testimony.

The teen who may have had knowledge of Moxley’s murder, according to Skakel’s counsel, was later accused of shooting to death the father of a man the teen had pointed to as Moxley’s murderer, the Courant article states.

The withheld evidence is so significant, Skakel’s lawyers argue, that he should be released on bail while his case is reconsidered.

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