In a Wednesday June 5, 2002 file photo, Thomas Skakel, stands outside the court in Norwalk Conn., during a coffe break for the jury deliberation phase of his brother Michael Skakel’s trial for the October 1975 murder of Martha Moxley. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, Michael Skakel’s conviction in the death of Moxley was set aside and new trial ordered by a Connecticut judge, Thomas Bishop, who ruled that Skakel’s defense attorney failed to adequately represent him when he was found guilty in 2002. Among other issues, the judge wrote that the defense could have focused more on Thomas Skakel, who was an early suspect in the case because he was the last person seen with Martha Moxley. Had Sherman done so, “there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the trial would have been different,” the judge wrote. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey, File)
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Lawyers for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel filed a motion Thursday seeking his release from prison on bond while he awaits a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley.
Skakel’s conviction was set aside Wednesday by Connecticut Judge Thomas Bishop, who ruled that Skakel’s trial attorney, Michael Sherman, failed to adequately represent him when he was found guilty in 2002 in the golf club bludgeoning of Moxley when they were 15 in wealthy Greenwich.
Skakel’s current attorney, Hubert Santos, filed a motion Thursday afternoon in Rockville Superior Court seeking a $500,000 bond. If a judge approves it, Skakel could then post bond and be released from prison.
“We’re very, very thrilled,” Santos said. “I always felt that Michael was innocent.”
Bridgeport State’s Attorney John Smriga said prosecutors will appeal both the decision and the request for bond. He said they remain confident in the jury’ verdict.
“The state’s case relied on Michael Skakel’s uncontested connection to the murder weapon, strong evidence of motive, substantial evidence of consciousness of guilt, nearly a dozen incriminating admissions and three unequivocal confessions,” Smriga said in a statement.
During a state trial in April on the appeal, Skakel took the stand and blasted Sherman’s handling of the case, portraying him as an overly confident lawyer having fun and basking in the limelight while making fundamental mistakes from poor jury picks to failing to track down key witnesses.
Sherman has said he did all he could to prevent Skakel’s conviction and denied he was distracted by media attention in the high-profile case.
As of Thursday afternoon, no date for a bond hearing had been set.
Skakel’s family said in a statement: “We hope this is the beginning of the end to Michael’s 40-year recurring nightmare.
“Any objective observer who sat through the trial, through the appeals and now this Habeas hearing could only come to one conclusion: our brother has always been innocent and this case should never have been brought in the first place,” the family said.