Michael Skakel's Lawyer Seeks New Trial

updated 09/09/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/2003 8:40AM

Hope Seeley, the attorney for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, intends to file an official request for a new trial in the 1975 murder of her client's then-neighbor, Martha Moxley, based on what Seeley calls new evidence, reports CNN.

The Skakel case surfaced again last Thursday, when Seeley informed a Stamford, Conn., judge that she had "newly discovered evidence," showing that her client had been wrongfully convicted for Moxley's murder.

Last weekend, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant newspaper carried a story saying that a former classmate of Skakel's, Gitano "Tony" Bryant (who is a cousin of Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant), told defense attorneys in a videotaped statement that two of his friends had admitted killing Moxley.

The petition for the new trial is expected to be presented to Connecticut Superior Court Judge John Kavenewsky before the end of this month.

Skakel, 42, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy (the widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy), was convicted of Moxley's murder in June 2002 and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, which he is now serving.

Moxley was found bludgeoned to death with a golf club on Halloween eve 1975, when both she and Skakel were 15. The club was traced to a set found in the Skakel home.

Both CNN and The New York Times say that, beyond reports that the men come from the Bronx, these new suspects have not been identified by name. One now lives in Bridgeport and the other in Seattle, and both are thought to be leading "respectable middle-class lives," Skakel's cousin, environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr., tells The Times.

Meanwhile, Tony Bryant told CNN in a phone interview: "I have nothing to say about any of this. I'm trying to live my life anonymously and protect my family's privacy. I'm just trying to be a productive citizen."

On Monday, reports The Times, Kennedy (who has been a staunch defender of his convicted cousin) said this alternative theory about the murder was not revealed for nearly 30 years because of concerns by a potential witness that he might be falsely implicated should he speak up.

"I think there's not an ounce of proof in the whole thing," Moxley's mother, Dorothy Moxley, told CNN.

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