NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel has filed a motion seeking to compel a Florida man to testify about his claim implicating two friends in the 1975 murder that sent Skakel to prison.
Skakel, 47, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, is seeking a new trial based on a claim by Gitano "Tony" Bryant, who implicated his friends in the killing of 15-year-old Martha Moxley. Skakel was convicted of beating Moxley to death with a golf club in 1975 and is serving 20 years to life in prison.
Bryant's lawyer said Monday that Skakel's motion is based on a faulty interpretation of law.
Bryant made the claim about his friends in 2003 in a videotaped interview with Skakel's private investigator, Vito Colucci Jr. According to court papers, he said one friend had met Moxley and "wanted to go caveman on her," and that they later told him: "We did what we had to do."
However, Bryant invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was deposed last summer in Skakel's bid for a new trial.
In a motion filed last week in state court in Florida, where Bryant lives, Skakel's attorneys argue that by giving Colucci the statement Bryant had waived his Fifth Amendment right.
"Mr. Bryant cannot be allowed to unring the bell he set off when he voluntarily came forward, gave his statement, and allowed it to be preserved on videotape," wrote attorney Hope Seeley.
A hearing is scheduled for March 7 in Miami, but Bryant's attorney, Joel Denaro, said Monday he will ask for a postponement. He said Bryant did not waive his Fifth Amendment right because his statement to the private detective did not involve any official proceeding.
"He's going to be taking the Fifth Amendment again," Denaro said. "They're misinterpreting the law."
Denaro said Bryant had nothing to do with the murder, but still fears he could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice or other charges.
There was no response Monday to a call seeking comment from prosecutor Jonathan Benedict, who has accused Bryant of making up the account.
The two men Bryant implicated also have exercised their Fifth Amendment rights.