"Author Testifies, Turns Over Suspect's Taped
Conversations to Moxley Grand Jury."
By J.A. Johnson Jr., Greenwich Time
BRIDGEPORT -- The grand jury investigating the 1975 Martha Moxley murder
yesterday questioned an author from whom prosecutors obtained nine hours of
taped conversations with suspect Michael Skakel.
The tapes include Skakel's recollections of the night his 15-year-old Greenwich
neighbor was bludgeoned and stabbed with a Skakel family-owned golf club,
according to Michael Sherman, the suspect's defense attorney. Nothing Skakel
said on the tapes incriminates him in the murder, Sherman said.
The author, Richard Hoffman, was unavailable for comment yesterday before
testifying in the sealed grand jury room at the Fairfield County Courthouse.In
an interview last week with Greenwich Time, however, Hoffman said he had been
subpoenaed by the grand jury to testify about a book he was to have ghost-
written fir Skakel. Sherman said when he spoke "at length" with Hoffman on
Thursday, the Cambridge, Mass., author related that the subpoena ordering him to
testify also demanded all tape recordings and written material concerning his
conversations with Skakel.
Sherman said Hoffman told him that in the tape-recorded conversations, made
about two years ago, Skakel discusses what he was doing when Moxley was slain on
Oct. 30, 1975. Although Sherman condemned the subpoena for tapes and documents
as "an absolute invasion of privacy," the attorney said none of the confiscated
material was damaging to his client.
"From speaking with Mr. Hoffman, my impression is that anything Michael said to
him was totally consistent with Michael's consistent denial of any
responsibility for this crime," Sherman said. State's Attorney Jonathan
Benedict, who is assisting the grand jury, refused to comment.
In the newspaper interview last week, Hoffman said he could not discuss his
dealings with Skakel because of contractual obligations with the suspect. But he
added, "The truth of the matter is I'm only at liberty to say I know of nothing
that is incriminating."
Skakel, who now resides in Florida, lived across the street from Moxley and was
with her the evening she was slain. Police identified the murder weapon as a 6-
iron from a set of golf clubs owned by the Skakel family. Michael Skakel and his
brother, Thomas, who in 1975 were 15 and 17, respectively, have both been
identified by authorities as suspects.
Since the grand jury was convened last June, Michael Skakel has emerged as the
prime suspect. Among witnesses who have appeared before the grand jury are
former residents and staff members of a drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation
center where prosecutors allege the younger Skakel brother made incriminating
statements about the murder.
News that Skakel planned to write a book first surfaces last year. On Feb. 27 -
four months before the grand jury was convened - The New York Times reported
that Skakel was looking for a publisher for a book that would give his version
of the Moxley case. In November, however, after the grand jury probe began,
Skakel's Manhattan literary agent, Alex Smithline, told Greenwich Time that the
proposed book would not be about the murder, but would focus on Skakel's life
as a relative of the famed Kennedy clan.
Skakel's father, Rushton Skakel Sr., is a brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, widow
of U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy.