"Skakel P.I. Appears Before Grand Jury"
By J.A. Johnson Jr.
Greenwich Time, March 25, 1999

BRIDGEPORT - After five months of legal wrangling over a subpoena, a former private investigator who interviewed both suspects in the Martha Moxley murder finally appeared yesterday before the grand jury investigating the Greenwich girl's 1975 slaying.

However, it appeared unlikely prosecutors heard the testimony they were hoping for concerning Willis Krebs' interviews with suspects Michael and Thomas Skakel, in which the brothers allegedly changed their alibis for the night their 15- year-old neighbor was murdered with a weapon police said came from their home.

Krebs, who conducted the interviews while working for a private detective agency hired in 1992 to probe the murder in preparation for a possible criminal defense, was accompanied by his attorney as he entered the sealed grand jury room of the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse in Bridgeport yesterday. Previous witnesses who have willingly cooperated with the grand jury have not been represented by counsel during questioning.

Neither Krebs; his attorney, Norman Bloch; nor prosecutors would comment after spending about 30 minutes in the grand jury room.

Preceding Krebs in the grand jury room yesterday afternoon was Manhattan attorney Thomas Sheridan Jr., who was Michael Skakel's defense attorney at the time the Sutton Associates detective agency was hired to investigate the Moxley murder. Sheridan, who also was represented by Bloch during questioning, refused to comment after spending about 90 minutes before the grand jury.

Prosecutors have alleged Sutton Associates had worked for the Skakel family - not the Skakel lawyers - and that Sheridan's grand jury testimony was needed to clarify relationships among the private investigations firm, the Skakels and the suspects' attorneys.

It took five months to get Krebs before the grand jury because even though he did not contest the subpoena signed by a Connecticut judge in September, attorneys representing the Skakel brothers intervened with a motion to quash the order after the subpoena was endorsed by a county judge in Krebs' home state of New York. The motion, which claimed Krebs' interviews of the Skakel brothers were confidential under the attorney-client privilege, was denied March 12. In ruling against the motion to quash the subpoena, Suffolk County, N.Y., Judge Michael Mullen stated any claims of attorney-client privilege must be adjudicated in Connecticut.

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 in Belle Haven. 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 estimated time of the murder.

In an affidavit filed in conjunction with the earlier motion to quash the subpoena, Krebs stated he 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 privileges."

A subpoena also was issued to Sutton Associates President James Murphy, but in January a Nassau County, N.Y., judge 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 witness. But in the same ruling, Judge Jerald 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."