- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2002

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) The prosecution in the murder trial of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel rested its case yesterday after playing a tape in which Mr. Skakel described his attraction to Martha Moxley and his activities the night she was killed.
The tape, recorded in 1997, was seized by investigators from Richard Hoffman, who planned to write a book with Mr. Skakel that was never published.
Mr. Skakel, 41, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel, is charged with beating Miss Moxley to death in October 1975 with a golf club later traced to a set owned by the Skakel family. Both Mr. Skakel and Miss Moxley were 15 at the time.
Mr. Skakel, who has maintained his innocence, said on the tape that his father was out of town the night Miss Moxley was killed. He and his cousin, James Terrien, joined several Skakel siblings for dinner at a club where Mr. Skakel ordered rum and tonics despite being underage.
Later, after Miss Moxley and others arrived at the Skakel house, Mr. Skakel said, he and Miss Moxley sat in his father's car and he tried to persuade her to come with him to Mr. Terrien's home. She said she had to be home at 9 p.m., Mr. Skakel said.
Mr. Skakel said he and several others went to Mr. Terrien's home in another part of Greenwich, where they smoked marijuana and watched "Monty Python's Flying Circus."
Mr. Skakel said he went home but couldn't sleep and sneaked out of the house to spy in the window of a neighborhood woman. Mr. Skakel, whose mother died of cancer in 1973, said he had looked in windows at several friends' mothers.
"I think about it now in retrospect, I just was looking for a mom," Mr. Skakel said.
He said he then went to Miss Moxley's house, thinking, "Martha likes me. I'll go get a kiss from Martha. I'll be bold tonight."
He said he climbed a tree and threw sticks and small rocks at Miss Moxley's window and yelled her name before returning home.
He said Miss Moxley's mother asked him the next morning if he knew where Miss Moxley was, and he panicked because he did not. Mr. Skakel said he searched for Miss Moxley on his bike, then learned when he returned to his house that her body had been found the night before.
"And I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, if I tell anybody that I was out that night, they're gonna say I did it,'" Mr. Skakel said on the tape.
Mr. Hoffman testified that Mr. Skakel had a crush on Miss Moxley, and said Mr. Skakel seemed to be in conflict often with his older brother, Thomas Skakel.
Investigators and witnesses said both brothers were interested in Miss Moxley.
John Moxley, the victim's brother, said outside the courthouse that Mr. Skakel's comments to Mr. Hoffman were "as close to a confession you're going to get out of Michael. It's Michael in his own voice putting him at all the wrong places at all the wrong times."


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