Transcripts Available at Lexis.Com
Transcripts Available at Lexis.Com
June 7, 2002
Hannity and Colmes, Fox News
Skakel Attorney Mickey Sherman On the Trial and Verdict:
Co-hosts Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes:
We spoke with Skakel's
attorney, Mickey Sherman,
who says he'll do whatever it takes to get his client free.
HANNITY: You cared passionately about this case.
MICKEY SHERMAN, MICHAEL SKAKEL'S ATTORNEY: I still do.
HANNITY: You still do.
SHERMAN: I have always believed in Michael Skakel, and I will continue to.
HANNITY: I know you do. Do you have any regrets? I know this is the day it comes in. What are your regrets?
SHERMAN: No, I -- this is the day that I should have -- be second- guessing myself, as most of the commentators will do over the next 48 hours. The only other question I would have had is maybe I should have put him on the stand, but, in retrospect, I don't think so. I don't know that I would have done anything different were we to try the case tomorrow.
HANNITY: Isn't there a risk -- you put somebody on the stand, and they freeze up. They look guilty. They look shifty.
SHERMAN: Or they might look at the jury in some way. Or they just come out with an answer that doesn't work. And, in this case, we had Michael Skakel's words already, which was the version of what happened, not terribly happy that it made the jury, but it was already there. So what's...
HANNITY: You know, if you look at -- he would then have had been cross-examination -- cross-examination would have taken place. Here you have a guy that puts himself in the backyard of this murdered girl on the night that she's murdered, granted earlier in the evening, admitting he's high on marijuana and alcohol, sexually aroused, masturbating in a tree outside of her window.
SHERMAN: Well, you know, it sounds really bad.
HANNITY: It sounds bad.
SHERMAN: I know. But, believe it or not, you're talking about a 15- year-old kid. He wasn't so high. He had had something to drink. Most importantly, he wasn't there when the murder occurred, and he wasn't in the tree under which she was found. These are things that, I think, the jury may have skewed a little bit.
HANNITY: Does it bother you more than anything else, that there was no physical evidence in the case? It was a circumstantial case.
SHERMAN: It bothers me that -- the fact that it was circumstantial doesn't bother me. You have to have enough pieces. There just weren't enough pieces. It wasn't merely circumstantial. There was no great case period.
HANNITY: Yeah. Do you think the -- his connection to the Kennedy name had any impact?
SHERMAN: I -- you know, I think that the jury totally discounted his alibi, and by the very word "alibi," it sounds sketchy. But these were six, seven, eight different people, some of whom were related, some were not, who verified where he was at the time of the murder. But, since they were family members and maybe Kennedy family members by extension, they seem to have discounted it.
HANNITY: Do -- look, you've been following this case. You live in -- you told me you never felt more passionate about a case than this one in your career...
SHERMAN: Absolutely true.
HANNITY: ... and your belief in his innocence.
HANNITY: And you studied this case, and you've worked it from the very beginning. I know you personally, so I know you really feel badly today. But do you have an idea in your mind who you think did this?
SHERMAN: Maybe, but I'm not sure, and I'm not about to engage in what the prosecutor did way back and start throwing mud at other people's windows.
You know, don't forget they got an arrest warrant at one point -- at arrest warrant application for his brother. Then they went and got search warrant applications and search-and-seizure warrants against a second person.
And then finally, Michael Skakel wound up in the chair.
HANNITY: Back to this issue of putting somebody on the stand, did you come close to doing that? I mean, if you're charged with murder, does a defendant want to look the jury in the eye, say...
SHERMAN: He left it up to me, and, usually, I do put my client on the stand, but, in this case, there was no point to it because they had his version of what happened that evening. They had it in his words, and they had it on a tape. So why subject him to a cross-examination at that point?
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: If it was his brother, wouldn't his brother come and say, "Look, I can't let my brother being take the hit."
SHERMAN: I don't know if it was his brother. I don't know who it was, and I couldn't speak for the family.
COLMES: Well, the two people most mentioned are his brother or the tutor -- the family tutor.
SHERMAN: Could have been anyone. I just -- I don't buy that any young person that's -- a 15- or a 17-year-old person would have had any motivation or any motive.
COLMES: Do you think it was an older person who did it?
SHERMAN: I think it was someone who was absolutely demonic to kill this young girl they did in the prime of her life in such an evil fashion. I just can't attribute that to a young 15- or 17-year-old kid from this neighborhood. It just wasn't...
COLMES: What about the fact that his alibi that he was at his cousin's house didn't hold up? There was a family friend who was driven home at that time, and, apparently, he was...
SHERMAN: It did hold up. I -- I don't buy that it didn't hold up. We -- she testified. She said, "He was definitely there. He never went to the other house."
So we brought her back from Massachusetts to testify again on our case when we had a tape of her from 1991, and when the police asked her, "Well, why do you think he was never there" -- or "Why do you think he was there in the house after the car left?" for the alibi, she said, "That's because the stories I've told and the tales I've heard and the books that I've read and everything that I've just assumed."
I'm not guessing about that being language. That's basically it. That's not evidence. That's not -- and then she goes on to say, "Did I see it? No. Do I know this for a fact? No. But that's what I've always assumed."
COLMES: But she didn't see him in the house. She heard a voice that she thought...
SHERMAN: No, she never said that. She said she never heard him in the house, never saw him in the house, never heard him in the house. The only reason she thought maybe he's still in the house is because that's the story that she's always believed over the years, and you don't send somebody to jail on that.
COLMES: So what do you do now?
SHERMAN: We appeal. There's a lot things to appeal. I'm not going to start dissing the judge right now and outlining, but we have a very large amount of issues, I think, we can deal with here.
COLMES: You thought you were going to win this case.
COLMES: What do you think was the deciding factor that made it go the other way?
SHERMAN: I think I probably discounted the shock value and the moral outrage that the jury felt. I mean, when they would flash the pictures of Martha Moxley up there, juxtaposed with very lovely Dorthy Moxley, her mother, sitting in the front row day after day, which I don't fault her for. I laud her for it.
I think it was a tough situation for a jury to come back and say, "No, Mrs. Moxley, we're not going to ease your pain. We think that this kid may not have done it." I think it was a moral outrage factor that I probably could not overcome.
COLMES: Was this a case of out-lawyering?
SHERMAN: No, I don't think so, although I'm telling you John Benedict did a great job, especially in his final argument. I don't believe so. I did the best I could. I don't know that I'd do anything better, but I'm not saying that they did a bad job. I think they did a good job as well. I think we had some very tough fact patterns here.
COLMES: What about the people who came forward and said, "Well, he confessed." He said a number of times that the crime -- that he did commit this crime. He made this statement allegedly that he would have to leave town because something bad was going to happen to him.
SHERMAN: Yeah. Yeah, his chauffeur came forward. Well, actually, he didn't. He told a guy who works at the bank, and then, three years later, the guy at the bank said, "Hey, I know somebody who knows something about the Moxley case, and he said that Michael said, 'I did a bad thing. I have to leave the country.'"
Well, we don't know the year that happened, but the chauffeur did remember that he's pretend sure it's the month Elvis died. Now I'm not -- I'm not making this stuff up. That was the nature of that have confession.
Then we had a barber came forward about three weeks ago who said, "Hey, by the way, I heard about it." Of course, he didn't come forward. He told a sheriff who then told the police. Everyone wanted a piece of the action.
COLMES: How does the family -- what have they said to you after the verdict came in?
SHERMAN: Only that we're just sharing the misery. It's as simple as that. And we share admiration for Michael Skakel and our belief in him, and none of us are going to quit on this guy.
COLMES: What did Michael say?
SHERMAN: Michael spent most of the time consoling me. I was, I will tell you, inconsolable. I was very, very upset. I still am, obviously. But Michael says, "Hey, it's in God's hands," and he trusts that the system will work eventually and that he'll be out of there.
HANNITY: All right. We'll continue this after the break. Now he may be better known for his involvement in the O.J. Simpson case, but without him,, many believe that the death of Martha Moxley may have been forgotten. Mark Fuhrman -- he wrote "Murder in Greenwich." He'll join us next.
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