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Prosecutor seeks reputed Skakel evidence

Michael Skakel
Michael Skakel

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CNN's Brian Mattingly reports reputed new evidence claimed by a Skakel lawyer.
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Michael C. Skakel
Murders
Martha Moxley
Crime, Law and Justice

(CNN) -- Connecticut prosecutor Jonathan Benedict has asked a judge to order defense attorneys for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel to provide the evidence they claim would clear their client in the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.

Skakel's attorney told Superior Court Judge John Kavenewsky at a hearing last week in Stamford that she intends to file a petition for a new trial based on what she called "newly discovered evidence."

The Hartford Courant reported Saturday that a former classmate of Skakel's, Gitano "Tony" Bryant, told defense attorneys in a videotaped statement that two of his friends had admitted killing Moxley.

The Courant said Bryant is a cousin of Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant, who has been charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case in Colorado.

Gitano Bryant would not comment on the report.

In a motion filed September 9, Benedict asked Kavenewsky to order Skakel's attorneys to provide the names and addresses of "both the persons who have provided the claimed evidence and of anyone whom said evidence implicates in the murder of Martha Moxley."

Moxley was found bludgeoned to death with a golf club on Halloween eve 1975. The club was traced to a set found in the Skakel home. Both Skakel and Moxley were 15 at the time and lived in an affluent neighborhood in nearby Greenwich.

Skakel, 42, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was convicted of the murder in June 2002 and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Bryant's allegations are included in a screenplay written by Crawford Mills in December 2001.

Mills, who along with Bryant attended the exclusive Brunswick School with Skakel, said he tried to bring Bryant's account to the attention of prosecutors and Skakel's former defense attorney Mickey Sherman before the trial began last year, but they were not interested.

Mills said Bryant told him he was in the upscale Bell Haven neighborhood with Geoff Byrne and two friends the night Moxley was murdered.

They were talking about "getting a girl caveman style," Mills said. He said Bryant left the two of them lurking outside the Skakel home, where Moxley was last seen alive.

Mills said Bryant told him both men admitted killing Moxley.

Byrne, a Bell Haven resident, was 11 at the time of the murder. He died of a drug overdose at 17.

Mills sent a copy of the screenplay to Dorthy Moxley, the victim's mother, before the trial. Moxley told CNN she sent a copy on to the office of prosecutor Jon Benedict.

But Benedict said in a statement Wednesday that Mills had refused to divulge any names or sources in his allegations.

"This is not the type of information that a criminal investigator, or for that matter a responsible journalist, should be expected to act on."

Benedict said he has been unable to get in touch with Bryant and his two former friends.

Martha Moxley
Martha Moxley

A source close to the case told CNN that Robert Kennedy Jr., who has insisted his cousin is innocent, has refused to provide prosecutors with names and phone numbers of the three men because Kennedy says he does not trust Benedict's team.

Benedict criticized Kennedy and Skakel's defense attorneys, Hubert Santos and Hope Seeley.

"Despite repeated request to Santos & Seeley, and more recently, to Mr. Kennedy, we have yet to be provided with the identities of those persons who it is now claimed murdered Martha Moxley," his statement said.

Seeley and Sherman declined to comment on the alleged new evidence.

CNN's Ronni Berke contributed to this report.


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