"P.I. Expected to Give Testimony; Motion to
Prevent Appearance Before Moxley Grand Jury Denied"
By J.A. Johnson Jr.
Greenwich Time, March 23, 1999
A New York Appellate Court decision has paved the way for grand jury testimony
tomorrow by a former private investigator who questioned two suspects in the
1975 Martha Moxley murder.
On Friday, the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division denied a motion by
suspects Michael and Thomas Skakel that sought to block testimony of Willis
Krebs, who had been hired by the Skakel family to investigate the 15-year-old
Greenwich girl's death.
Connecticut prosecutors have said Krebs' testimony is needed because the Skakel
brothers significantly changed their alibis for the night of the Oct. 31, 1975,
murder when interviewed by Krebs. Prosecutors have further alleged the revised
stories either place the Skakels with the victim or near the crime scene at
about the time Moxley was slain with a 6-iron from a set of golf clubs owned by
the Skakel family.
Krebs had not contested the subpoena, but Skakel attorney Robert Gottlieb
intervened with a motion to quash the order. He claimed Krebs, now an
investigator with the Suffolk County, N.Y., district attorney's office, had
worked on behalf of Skakel defense attorneys and therefore his interviews of the
brothers were protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The motion to quash was denied earlier this month by a Suffolk County judge. On
March 15, Gottlieb applied with the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
for a stay on the county judge's ruling, pending an appeal. That application was
denied without comment by an appellate division four-judge panel on Friday, a
court clerk said yesterday.
State Inspector Frank Garr, the lead Moxley case investigator, yesterday said
Krebs is expected to appear before the grand jury in Bridgeport tomorrow, along
with Michael Skakel's former defense attorney, Thomas Sheridan Jr. Sheridan in
1992 hired the private investigation firm Krebs then worked for, Sutton
Associates of Jericho, N.Y., to probe the Moxley murder in preparation for a
In an affidavit filed in conjunction with the earlier motion to quash the
subpoena, Krebs stated that he had interviewed Thomas Skakel twice and Michael
Skakel once. The affidavit stated: "At the time of my investigation in the
(Moxley) case, I was an employee of Sutton Associates. . I always participated
in these conversations with the understanding that these conversations were
strictly confidential and protected under the attorney-client and work product
Sheridan's grand jury testimony is being sought to clarify the relationships
between the private investigations firm, the Skakels and the suspects'
attorneys. Late last year, a Manhattan judge upheld a subpoena ordering
Sheridan's grand jury appearance, saying that since his testimony is being
sought in Connecticut, the question about attorney-client privilege should be
determined in Connecticut.
In similar court proceedings in Nassau County, N.Y., Gottlieb successfully
blocked a grand jury subpoena that had been issued to Sutton Associates
President James Murphy. In January, Judge Jerald Carter ruled he would not
enforce the order not because of a claimed privilege, but because Murphy had not
personally interviewed either Skakel brother and therefore was not a material
But in that same ruling, Carter said hearings he presided over had established
that two other Sutton Associates investigators - including Krebs - "are
witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the alleged Skakel interviews."
The grand jury investigating the Moxley murder was appointed last June. Superior
Court Judge George Thim, who is serving as the one-man grand jury, has not heard
testimony since Feb. 1, when author Richard Hoffman testified about a book he
was to have ghost-written for Michael Skakel.