"Ruling Ordering Former Skakel P.I. to Testify Expected Today"
By J.A. Johnson Jr., Greenwich Time

A Suffolk County, N.Y., judge is expected to issue a ruling today ordering a private detective who questioned two suspects in the 1975 Martha Moxley murder to testify before the Connecticut grand jury probing the Greenwich teenager's death.

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Karen Petterson said she had been asked by the judge yesterday if she knew when Connecticut prosecutors wanted the investigator, Willis Krebs, to appear before the grand jury in Bridgeport. "The court called us to find out the date they want Krebs up there," Petterson said.

Krebs is a former employee of the Jericho, N.Y., Sutton Associates private detective agency, which was hired to investigate the Moxley murder in 1992 by lawyers representing suspects Michael and Thomas Skakel. Connecticut prosecutors allege the Skakel brothers significantly changed the alibis they had given police in 1975 when Krebs interviewed them.

Connecticut State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict, who is assisting the Moxley grand jury, said yesterday he was in discussions with his Suffolk counterpart to decide when Krebs should testify.

Although Suffolk County Judge Michael Mullen on Oct. 19 endorsed the Connecticut subpoena ordering Krebs to appear before the grand jury, an attorney representing the Skakels intervened with a motion to quash the order.

During arguments before Mullen in Suffolk County Court last Friday, attorney Robert Gottlieb said Krebs' interviews with the Skakels were confidential attorney "work products" protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege.

Gottlieb yesterday declined comment on Mullen's apparent decision to reject his motion. "I'll have a reaction when I read the decision," the Commack, N.Y., attorney said.

Michael and Thomas Skakel, who in 1975 were 15 and 17, respectively, were both with Moxley the night their 15-year-old Greenwich neighbor was murdered, according to police. Police identified the murder weapon as a 6-iron from a set of golf clubs owned by the Skakel family, who lived across the street from the Moxleys.

Although police have said both Skakels initially claimed to have been nowhere near the Oct. 30, 1975, crime scene, prosecutors allege that the brothers told Krebs of either being at the crime scene or with the victim at the time of the murder.

In countering Gottlieb's arguments to quash the subpoena last week, Petterson told Mullen that since Krebs' testimony is being sought in Connecticut - which has its own laws protecting the attorney-client privilege - objections to the testimony must be decided in that state.

That is exactly what Manhattan Judge Herbert Adlerberg ruled late last year when upholding a subpoena ordering the grand jury appearance of Thomas Sheridan Jr., who in 1992 hired Sutton Associates while acting as Michael Skakel's defense attorney.

Benedict yesterday said he would like to be able to schedule Krebs' and Sheridan's grand jury appearances on the same date. He said scheduling is subject to the availability of Superior Court Judge George N. Thim, who last June was appointed a one-judge grand jury to investigate the Moxley murder. While probing the matter, Thim also is handling cases from the regular criminal docket at the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse in Bridgeport.