Skakel lawyers deny rift story
By Peter Moore - Greenwich Post

Attorneys for both Michael and Thomas Skakel have denounced an article which appeared in Sunday's New York Post, describing the two brothers as being involved in a bitter feud perpetuated by the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley. According to the story, the two have barely spoken in years.

"Total garbage," said Emmanuel Margolis, Thomas Skakel's attorney upon being asked about the story's credibility. "Unfortunately there are people in your profession [journalists] who will make up a story." Margolis added that he telephoned Thomas Skakel after the story appeared to see how the New York Post may have obtained these claims. According to Margolis, the older brother did not know.

Michael Sherman, Michael Skakel's attorney who drove him to the Greenwich Police headquarters last week to be booked for the murder, was equally adamant. "I agree, Tommy and Michael do get along."

Michael Skakel, 15 at the time of the murder, flew north from his home in Hobe Sound, Fla. last Wednesday to surrender to police and face charges that he beat Martha to death with a golf club on the night of Oct. 30, 1975. He is presently free on $500,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in juvenile court in Stamford on Feb. 8.

The New York Post article, written by Daniel Jeffreys, states: "Living under a cloud, Martha Moxley's murder haunted the Skakel brothers for 25 years, carving a rift between them that occasionally bordered on hatred, friends and associates say."

The article continues: "Thomas Skakel -- the suspect for two decades in the brutal 1975 bludgeoning of the pretty 15-year-old girl in Greenwich -- and Michael, his troubled youger brother, have barely spoken for some time."

Margolis refuted the story's credibility, "They are on speaking terms; they are and they have been."

He continued, "It's the kind of thing that's been going on with this case for 20 years. Anytime anybody reports of a new sensation or speculation, I'm never surprised and I check it out and it proves to be absolutely baseless."

Greenwich Post spoke with Thomas Skakel Monday at his place of work in Massachusetts, where according to a family friend, Skakel is a public relations specialist. Skakel agreed to talk to a reporter at 1 p.m. Tuesday, but then called to cancel the interview the following morning, saying he was going to be "out of town" for a few days. He did not leave a telephone number. Repeated calls to the residence of Rushton Skakel, Michael Skakel's father and neighbor in Florida went unanswered.

Tim Dumas, author of "A Wealth of Evil," a true crime account of the Moxley case said that sources have told him that the "whole family" gathered in Florida for a legal briefing before Michael Skakel was arrested.

Margolis said Thomas Skakel was distraught over Michael's arrest. "He was very sad and disappointed that [Michael's arrest] happened. He really feels grief about this for his brother and his brother's family."

But Margolis also said that his client finally felt exonerated as a possible suspect. Until the mid-1990's, Thomas Skakel was the only Skakel considered a suspect in the murder.

"He and I take this as a clean bill of health," Margolis said. "It's a relief for him to know that he's not involved."

Sherman added that the Skakel family was coping with Michael's arrest appropriately, but gave few details.

"They're all looking forward to a final resolution of this."

Rushton Skakel's attorney, Richard Lubin did not return phone calls seeking comment on the Skakel family status. Lubin lost a battle in court last year to prevent his client from testifying before the case's grand jury, in light of alleged mental incompetence.