Those close to Moxley case question
screenwriter's legitimacy
By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

A man claiming to have the inside scoop on the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley made news this week when a New York City tabloid reported that Sherman "Tad" Baldwin had written a screenplay about the Greenwich girl's slaying.

New York Daily News gossip columnist Mitchell Fink also reported Monday that LivePlanet - a Hollywood production company led by Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck - had expressed interest in turning Baldwin's screenplay into a motion picture.

"He based the screenplay on a subject he claims to know well: the details surrounding the 1975 slaying of his Greenwich friend Martha Moxley," Fink wrote. "Back then Baldwin was also friendly with Robert F. Kennedy's nephew Michael Skakel, who was charged last January - a quarter century after Moxley's death - with killing her."

Fink further wrote: "Baldwin's screenplay, 'The Circle Game,' has a you-are-there quality, graphically depicting the killing and using real names throughout."

Sounds like the makings of a compelling movie, right?

The problem is, no one connected with the Moxley case seems to know who Baldwin really is. And Baldwin could not be located for comment.

The murder victim's mother, Dorthy Moxley, said, "I never heard of him - never talked to him."

Skakel's defense lawyer, Michael Sherman, said, "I don't believe Michael was ever friendly with this person or, frankly, ever knew him or knew of him."

Sherman said he first came to know Baldwin in 1998 when, in the midst of the grand jury investigation that resulted in Skakel's arrest, Baldwin contacted Sherman with claims that he knew who the real murderer was - and that it was neither Michael Skakel nor his older brother Thomas Skakel, who also was a suspect at the time.

"I was highly skeptical about it at the time because it sounded preposterous," Sherman recalled. "Believe me, I wish more than anyone it was true because it would have exonerated Michael Skakel. But it was so far-fetched."

Because Baldwin told his story to a grand jury, which operates under secrecy, it would be "inappropriate" for him to repeat Baldwin's story in detail, Sherman said.

But the attorney confirmed that Baldwin claimed to have been in Greenwich on Oct. 30, 1975 - the day Moxley was bludgeoned to death with a golf club - and said he was approached that evening by a teenager covered in blood who blurted, "I just killed Martha Moxley."

"He did testify" before the grand jury, Sherman said. "It's bizarre."

State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict, who presented evidence to the grand jury and is now prosecuting Skakel, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Peter Truebner, the attorney who represented Baldwin at the time of the grand jury investigation, did not return calls to his Stamford office.

Keith Quinn, a vice president at LivePlanet, said Baldwin's screenplay "is not in production at this time."

As for Matt Damon expressing interest in the project, Quinn said, "I can't confirm or deny that."

Fink, the gossip columnist, refused to discuss the matter. He reported in his column that Baldwin had written the screenplay while serving an 11-month federal prison sentence for wire fraud.

A Superior Court judge is expected to rule by mid-February whether Skakel, who was 15 when Moxley was murdered, should be tried as an adult or juvenile.

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