Attorney for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel
files motion seeking new trial
By John Springer - Court TV
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — In a bid for a new trial, Michael Skakel's attorney argued Wednesday that jurors who convicted Skakel were improperly inflamed by gruesome photos of the victim paired with Skakel's comments in an interview.
Defense lawyer Michael Sherman, in a motion filed in Stamford Superior Court, asked that the verdict be set aside and a new trial be held.
Skakel, 41, was convicted Friday of beating Moxley to death with a golf club in 1975 when they were 15-year-old neighbors in Greenwich. Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, faces between 10 years to life in prison when he is sentenced July 19.
Wednesday's court filing marks the start of efforts to challenge the verdict. An appeal objecting to the transfer of the case from juvenile to adult court is expected after sentencing.
"The prosecution sought maximum dramatic effect, dazzling the jury not with reliable evidence, but with high-tech graphics and conscience-shocking audiovisual juxtapositions," Sherman wrote in the filing.
During closing arguments, prosecutors projected a snapshot of Moxley. The picture dissolved into a crime scene photo over audio excerpts from an interview Skakel gave in 1997. Skakel spoke to a writer planning a book on his life as a Kennedy cousin.
Sherman said the taped interview should never have been admitted because it involved hearsay.
But Deputy Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano said the prosecutor's closing argument did not appear "to rise to the level of affecting the sanctity of the verdict."
"Everything used in final arguments was evidence that had been introduced at trial," Morano said.
Sherman also objected to the admission of incriminating statements Skakel allegedly made over the years and said prosecutors improperly alleged a Skakel family cover-up.
He also argued that jury instructions by Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. had the effect of "marshaling the evidence" by highlighting the state's case and diminishing the defense case.