Kennedy cousin admits romance try with murder victim Moxley
by Maggie Mulvihill

Friday, October 29, 1999

Ethel Kennedy's nephew - suspected of bludgeoning a Connecticut teenager to death in 1975 - admits in an explosive new book proposal he tried to romance victim Martha Moxley hours before she was slain.

Michael Skakel reveals for the first time in his proposal, entitled ``Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean,'' that he tried to kiss the 15-year-old girl hours before she was fatally beaten with a steel golf club belonging to Skakel's family. Skakel collaborated on the book project with Cambridge author Richard Hoffman, and Connecticut authorities who have reopened the grisly murder case have reviewed nine hours of tape recorded conversations the writer had with Skakel, sources told the Herald.

Tomorrow marks the 24th anniversary of Moxley's death, which remains unsolved but has haunted the Kennedy clan, Moxley's family and residents of posh Greenwich, Ct. Her battered body was found under a pine tree in the wealthy town on Halloween, 1975

In the book draft, Skakel claims that on Halloween Eve 1975 he spent the evening drinking rum-and-tonics and dining at an exclusive waterfront club near his home with his siblings and their live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton

When they arrived back at his family's home, he continued drinking and ``whooping and giving out `noogies' to each other and knocking things over,'' before he spotted Moxley and some other neighbor kids in his kitchen

``I remember standing in the kitchen drinking with Littleton and telling him that I thought Martha was really pretty,'' the proposal states. Skakel then asked Martha to go outside and smoke a cigarette in his father's Lincoln, which he and his siblings nicknamed ``the lust-mobile,'' the proposal states

Skakel tried to convince Moxley to continue partying with him, but she declined because her mother had given her a 9 p.m. curfew, the proposal states

``I really liked her. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted her to be my girlfriend, but I was going slow, being careful,'' the proposal states

Michael Sherman, Skakel's attorney, acknowledged his client and Hoffman worked together on the project - which he has since put the brakes on - but said the proposal contains Hoffman's view of events, not necessarily his client's

``I don't believe those were (Michael Skakel's) thoughts or his words,'' Sherman said. ``They are a product of interviews with Michael. They are the spin and the story created by an author whose primary interest is writing a book, selling it and marketing.''

Connecticut authorities have confirmed that Skakel and his older brother, Thomas Skakel, who lives in Stockbridge, Mass., are the two main suspects in the slaying of their pretty next-door-neighbor

Michael Skakel, who now lives in Hobe Sound, Fla., was 15 at the time and his brother Thomas Skakel was 17. Both men have always maintained their innocence

A judge sitting as a one-man grand jury in Connecticut has been hearing evidence in the case and is expected to wrap up his work in December, sources close to the case told the Herald

Skakel's 38-page book proposal, a copy of which has been obtained by the Herald, reveals for the first time details of Michael Skakel's actions in the hours before his neighbor's bloodied body was discovered on her front lawn in the Greenwich seaside enclave of Belle Haven

Hoffman, who has also appeared before the grand jury, said he is completely convinced Skakel had nothing to do with Moxley's murder

``If I thought Michael was a murderer, I wouldn't do the book with him,'' Hoffman said. ``I absolutely believe in his innocence.''

After seeing Martha Moxley alive for the last time, Skakel claims he drove over to his cousins' house to continue drinking, smoking pot and watching Monty Python before returning to Belle Haven several hours later, the proposal states

But he couldn't sleep and ventured back out again

``A part of me really wanted to go to sleep, but I was keyed up, nervous and horny,'' the proposal states

Skakel told investigators the next day, after Moxley's body was discovered, he had come right home from his cousins' house and gone to sleep

But he changed his alibi several years later and told private investigators hired by his family to clear the Skakel name he had crossed over into Moxley's yard, crawled up a tree and threw pebbles at her bedroom window

The grand jury has only two more months to continue investigating the case before it must either issue indictments or close the case, sources have confirmed

``The time is running out very quickly. It's been 24 years and they haven't found ample evidence to arrest Michael or anyone else and I don't see that happening in the future,'' Sherman said. ``It's certainly a tragedy that this crime will go unsolved, but we aren't doing anyone a service by arresting someone who is not guilty.''