From the Boston Globe

Kennedy kin seeks to block testimony in girl's killing

By Associated Press, 09/22/98

STAMFORD, Conn. - A lawyer for a Kennedy nephew whois a prime suspect in the 1975 murder of a Greenwich teenager is attempting to block grand jury testimony from the owner of a school where the suspect received psychiatric treatment in the years after the slaying.

Prosecutors believe Joseph Ricci, the owner of the Elan School in Poland, Maine, overheard Michael Skakel admit involvement in the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley. But Skakel's attorney claims any conversations Skakel had at the school are protected by confidentiality rules governing mental health facilities.

Attorney Michael Sherman has asked prosecutors to allow him to argue the privilege issue before the courts decide whether Ricci can be forced to testify before a one-man grand jury. Sherman is also seeking to block prosecutors from subpoenaing any of Skakel's records at Elan, a school for troubled youths. "We are asserting the privilege enjoyed by anyone who is treated by a therapist," Sherman said. "Mr. Ricci is a co-owner and certainly some type of administrator of the program in which Michael Skakel was a patient. Anything that Michael Skakel said, uttered or wrote while at that institution is subject to the claim of privilege."

Michael Skakel, who now lives in Cohasset, Mass., attended the Elan School from 1978 to 1980. Prosecutors subpoenaed Ricci to appear before the grand jury today, but Ricci is fighting the subpoena. Michael Skakel and his brother, Thomas, both nephews of the late US Senator Robert Kennedy, have long been identified by authorities as suspects in Moxley's murder. Their father, Rushton Skakel, is the brother of Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's widow.

At the time of the murder, the Skakel family lived near the Moxleys in Belle Haven, an exclusive gated community in Greenwich, a wealthy suburb of New York. Both Michael, then 15, and Thomas, then 17, were among a group of friends who were with Martha the night she was beaten to death with a golf club,

Oct. 30, 1975. Her body was found the next day on her family's estate. The golf club used to kill her was later matched to a set owned by the Skakel family. No one has ever been charged in the killing. Both Michael and Thomas Skakel have repeatedly maintained their innocence.

This story ran on page B03 of the Boston Globe on 09/22/98.
Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.