Courtesy Lexis.Com

Good Morning America, ABC News
March 13, 2001



Yesterday a judge unsealed hundreds of pages of documents in the Michael Skakel murder case. As you may recall, Mr. Skakel is the Kennedy cousin charged with the beating and stabbing death of 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975. Joining us, as he has in the past several times, Michael Skakel's attorney, Mickey Sherman. Nice to have you...

Mr. MICKEY SHERMAN (Michael Skakel's Attorney): Good to be here.

GIBSON: ...back with us. We knew there were two witnesses saying that Skakel had talked with them about committing this crime. Now we find from these papers released there are six.

Mr. SHERMAN: Allegedly. Again, you know, we've seen the best and the brightest of these witnesses that the state produced at the reasonable cause hearing. And now, of course, I had access to the documents for over a year. So I'm not surprised, you know, after the release. But by the same token, it's curious as to why the state didn't bring on any more of these people during the reasonable cause hearings.

GIBSON: The six witnesses say either Skakel told them he had committed the crime or told them he didn't know if he'd committed the crime, that he was blacked out that night and drunk.

Mr. SHERMAN: Well, let's see how they do under direct and cross-examination, Charlie. But as you've just said, they say he said he did it or he may have said he did it. And these are the same people who say, you know, he told me he did it, or he told me he thought he might have done it, or maybe he could have done it, or he maybe this, that, and the other thing. It--it's like a smorgasbord of confessions.

GIBSON: I'm no lawyer, but it would seem to me if you have a witness saying someone told you he didn't know if he'd done it, that's almost more troubling for you than if you have someone who says he told me he did do it because you can attack that story. But when somebody says the guy told me he doesn't know, then you're dealing with a client who doesn't know if he's guilty or not.

Mr. SHERMAN: If you buy the story that's being put out there by the state's attorney's office and through these witnesses, which I frankly don't, you have to understand the context under which these statements were allegedly made, and that's while Michael Skakel was basically being beaten to a pulp in this rehabilitation program up in Maine and was forced to say things that he didn't want to say until they stopped beating him up. This was testified to not by him, but by other students who testified in June at these hearings we had in Stanford.

GIBSON: But, Mickey, these--these witnesses don't say that it came in--during primal scream therapy sessions or something at this school for troubled kids. They don't say it came under duress from a psychologist. These are late-night conversations in a cafeteria, informal conversations, just two people talking one-on-one.

Mr. SHERMAN: I don't buy it. Let them come here, let's see what they've got to say.

GIBSON: Why do they put those stories in--again, not as a lawyer, I don't know--but why are those kinds of things in the documents released by the court...

Mr. SHERMAN: That doc...

GIBSON: ...if they don't intend to produce those witnesses?

Mr. SHERMAN: That document was intended for one purpose. Not to produce the witnesses, but to get Michael Skakel arrested. That's an arrest warrant affidavit. It's a supporting document where a prosecutor writes it up through his investigator. They send it along to a judge and say, this is why we believe this man committed this crime. We want you to sign an arrest warrant. They need to show a judge that probable cause exists to arrest somebody, untested--untested by cross-examination.

GIBSON: One other potential witness, a family employee, a driver, who said he was driving Michael Skakel to a therapy session in New York in 1976. Skakel says to him, 'I did something bad,' had a knife, threatened to kill himself, tried to get out of the car on the Triborough Bridge and jump off the bridge.

Mr. SHERMAN: Right. That story, first of all, is a lot of BS, OK, if I can say BS on network television.

GIBSON: You--you can say BS...

Mr. SHERMAN: OK. I thought...

GIBSON: That's as far as you can go.

Mr. SHERMAN: The bottom line is, it is a mere skeleton of a story that actually happened, having nothing to do with Michael Skakel or Michael Skakel's alleged involvement in the Martha Moxley murder. Nothing. It was a personal matter. There was no death threat, there's no climbing over the Triborough Bridge. And if this really had anything to do with the murder, then where was Mr. Zacherelli (ph), the driver? Where's he been for the last 25 years? Why didn't he come forward back then? Because this allegedly happened a year after the murder? So he just all of a sudden remembered that maybe this is relevant?

GIBSON: When do you go to trial?

Mr. SHERMAN: Don't know. Six months, eight months, we're ready. We've not delayed this at all. We're ready to go.

GIBSON: All right. Mickey Sherman, thank you very much. Talking about bombastic sayings, that's what you meant by BS, right? Coming from people who will testify, perhaps, for the prosecution. GOOD MORNING AMERICA continues. Stay with us. (Commercial break)

Copyright 2001. ABC News, Lexis. Com. All rights reserved.

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