Skakel ties reach to law firm seeking
to open court hearing
By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

A relative of Martha Moxley murder suspect Michael Skakel works for the same law firm that is representing a group of newspapers in their quest to open Skakel's juvenile court arraignment to the public.

"What can I say, Connecticut is a small state," Edward Kennedy Jr., Skakel's relative through marriage, said yesterday.

Kennedy, who is son of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, is an associate with the New Haven office of Wiggin & Dana, the law firm that is representing five newspapers in their motion to open the normally closed juvenile court proceedings.

Skakel's father, Rushton Skakel, is the brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, the widow of U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy and sister-in-law of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Skakel, 39, is scheduled to be a arraigned March 14 in juvenile court because he was 15 when he allegedly murdered Moxley in Greenwich on Oct. 30, 1975.

A specialist in the areas of health and disability law, Kennedy is on leave from Wiggin & Dana while serving as interim legal affairs director for the Connecticut Hospital Association.

Kennedy declined to discuss his relative's alleged involvement in the Greenwich murder.

Wiggin & Dana's managing partner, Noel Hanf, said his firm was "fortunate" to have Kennedy as an associate, and emphasized that Kennedy was in no way involved with Skakel-related legal matters.

Skakel was arrested Jan. 19 on the basis of a report issued a month earlier by a grand jury that spent 18 months investigating the Moxley murder. Although Skakel is to be arraigned in a Superior Court Juvenile Matters courtroom, the prosecutor in the case has indicated plans to try to have I the case transferred to adult court.

The newspapers - Greenwich Time, The (Stamford) Advocate, The Hartford Courant, Newsday and The New York Times - argue in their motion they should be allowed to attend Skakel's arraignment because the defendant is now an adult, and that neither Skakel nor the prosecution is opposed to the media coverage. The motion also stated that media coverage of the arraignment is warranted because of intense public interest in the case.

Judge Maureen Dennis, who is hearing the case, said she would issue a written decision on the newspapers' motion prior to Skakel's arraignment.