‘This was a railroad job.’ Skakel attorney discusses lawsuit on overturned murder conviction
It's been over three years since a Greenwich murder case that transfixed the country ended when prosecutors announced they would not retry Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel in the 1975 beating death of his neighbor, Martha Moxley. But Skakel isn't leaving his prior murder conviction and its reversal in the past.
“It's time to put his case in front of a court and tell the story about how the state should not have prosecuted him in the first place and how he should be redressed,” said attorney Stephan Seeger, who represents Skakel.
A lawsuit filed against the town of Greenwich and the lead investigator of Moxley’s murder aims to both compensate Skakel and change the narrative on the decades-long case, according to Seeger.
In 2002, a jury convicted Skakel of killing Moxley on Halloween eve when they both were 15 years old. Skakel received a 20-year sentence. But in 2013, he was released on bond after an appeals court overturned the verdict, ruling defense attorney Mickey Sherman had failed to adequately represent Skakel at trial. The state Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2018, sending the case back to a state prosecutor, who dropped it in 2020.
The lawsuit claims there were plenty of other reasons Skakel shouldn't have gone to prison. It alleges malicious prosecution, civil rights violations and other wrongdoings.
“What went on is a railroad job,” Seeger told News 12.
The lawsuit contends investigator Frank Garr hid evidence about other potential suspects, overlooked an alibi witness and intimidated witnesses.
“There's a host of different things that make it very clear that Michael Skakel is an innocent man and never committed this crime that the public has really never heard about,” Seeger stated.
The suit also says Garr had a financial interest to make a case against a Kennedy cousin because he had a book and movie deal on the case.
“That is stuff that the jury should've heard and did not hear because the information was not handed over to the defense,” Seeger said.
Skakel is seeking unspecified monetary damages over $15,000.
“Moving forward that's the looming question—what’s 11.5 years of somebody's life behind bars worth? And take into account, not only that lack of freedom, but the whole-hearted destruction of relationships, loss of time with an infant child and the loss of opportunities just to live your life,” Seeger stated.
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