2 more jurors added Skakel:
'God knows I'm innocent'
By Eve Sullivan - Greenwich Time

NORWALK -- Two more jurors were selected yesterday in the murder trial of Michael Skakel, bringing the total to eight, half the number needed.

Skakel has been charged with the 1975 murder of his Belle Haven neighbor Martha Moxley. Both were 15 at the time.

The new jurors have two things in common -- both are white men from Stamford and both believe O.J. Simpson was guilty.

One man is a native of Tennessee and the regional director of operations for a large restaurant chain based in New York City. The other man owns a local excavation business and has an interest in forensic evidence.

During a break in jury selection yesterday, Skakel told The Associated Press that he was not guilty.

"God knows I'm innocent," Skakel said outside the courtroom in state Superior Court in Norwalk. "Last time I checked, (not) bearing false witness was a commandment, not a suggestion."

Earlier in the day, defense attorney Michael Sherman questioned the restaurant chain manager about what he's read in the newspaper regarding the Skakel case. The man remembered reading about former police detective Mark Fuhr-man's involvement.

Fuhrman wrote a book, "Murder in Greenwich," which named Skakel as Moxley's killer. It was among several media accounts of the stalled investigation that ultimately led to a grand jury charging Skakel with the murder.

Sherman asked the man about his reaction to Fuhrman's book.

"I thought that was absurd," said the man, who has not read the book. "What business did he have coming in out of left field and solving a crime?"

Sherman then asked the man what he thought about the Simpson trial. Fuhrman, a former detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, investigated the 1994 murder of Simpson's wife and her friend.

The man said Simpson was guilty, and he thought the police and prosecution had done a bad job.

"It appears they botched it," he said.

Sherman asked the man if he should be on the Skakel jury.

"If you don't choose me, I hope you would choose someone like me," he answered.

In questioning the second juror chosen, Sherman asked if he wanted to be on the jury and the man said, "Not really." Sherman asked why.

"Because you're judging someone's fate," the excavation business owner said.

Sherman asked if he agreed with the Simpson verdict.

"No," he answered. "Not after seeing the forensic science."

With the two new members, the jury is now half complete. For a trial, the attorneys need 12 jurors and four alternates.

Seven other prospective jurors were questioned yesterday by Sherman and the prosecution team, which is led by State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict.

Those candidates included an unemployed mother of two, a full-time homemaker and a registered psychiatric nurse who works at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan.

The nurse was accepted by Sherman but rejected by prosecutors, who did not give a reason for their decision.

Another man was excused from serving after saying he believed the Skakels' wealth and their Kennedy cousins helped Michael Skakel avoid prosecution 27 years ago. Skakel's aunt Ethel is the widow of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Other candidates excused from serving on the jury include a former neighbor of Sherman's and a former associate of Emmanuel Margolis, who represents Michael Skakel's father, Rushton Sr., and his brother, Thomas. Margolis also has been listed as a witness for the prosecution.

Martha Moxley was found beaten to death with a golf club on the lawn of her parents' Greenwich home on the morning of Oct. 31, 1975. Moxley had been out the previous night with friends, including Michael and Thomas Skakel.



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