NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel filed another appeal of his 2002 murder conviction late Monday, this time arguing his high-profile trial attorney was incompetent.
Skakel, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, says in the appeal filed in Rockville Superior Court that Michael Sherman had significant financial problems and did not devote enough money to prepare the case.
He says Sherman failed to challenge the state's star witness by finding witnesses who later rejected his claim that Skakel confessed to the crime.
Skakel, who is seeking a new trial, says Sherman also did a poor job in closing arguments and with jury selection. He says Sherman failed to obtain evidence from prosecutors pointing to other suspects.
"I did everything I could to keep Michael Skakel from being convicted and if any court finds something more could be done I welcome it because I didn't think then nor do I think now he is guilty of any crime," Sherman said.
Skakel's new attorney, Hope Seeley, who filed the new appeal, declined to comment. Telephone messages left for a prosecutor and the victim's brother were not immediately returned.
Skakel is serving 20 years to life in prison for the fatal beating of Martha Moxley in Greenwich in 1975, when they were both 15.
Sherman, who has frequently appeared on national television shows as a legal analyst, pleaded guilty in June to willfully failing to pay about $400,000 in federal income taxes. He faces two years in prison under federal guidelines when he is sentenced later this year on the misdemeanor charges.
The new appeal says Sherman's fee agreement with Skakel was improper because it mixed the costs for retaining experts and investigators with the money paid to Sherman into one fee. Sherman's interest in keeping as much of the total fee as possible hurt his performance at the trial, the appeal argues.
Sherman also failed to investigate a claim implicating two other men in the killing, Skakel argues. That claim was later rejected in other appeals.
Skakel already has lost two appeals before the Connecticut Supreme Court, but his latest points to several instances in which the high court criticized Sherman's handling of the case.