- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man implicated in the murder that sent Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel to prison said that he wasn’t in the exclusive Greenwich neighborhood the night of the crime, according to a recorded phone call involving Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that was played in court yesterday.

Skakel, who is serving 20 years to life in prison, is asking for a new trial in the 1975 bludgeoning death of his neighbor Martha Moxley when both were teenagers.

It wasn’t clear how the taped phone conversation between Mr. Kennedy and Adolph Hasbrouck might affect Skakel’s hopes for a new trial.

Mr. Kennedy testified earlier that although he and Skakel have not always been close, he felt obligated to get involved in the case because he thinks Skakel is innocent.

It was Mr. Kennedy who put Skakel’s attorneys in touch with Gitano “Tony” Bryant, a former classmate of Skakel’s who implicated Mr. Hasbrouck and another man, Burt Tinsley, in the crime. Mr. Bryant said he was with the two men in Miss Moxley’s neighborhood the night she was killed.

According to court papers, Mr. Bryant said one friend had met Miss Moxley and “wanted to go caveman on her,” and that the two later told him, “We did what we had to do,” and “We got her caveman-style.” Mr. Bryant made the claim in a 2003 videotaped interview with Skakel’s private investigator, but Mr. Bryant and the other two men have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Mr. Hasbrouck’s wife has called the claim a lie. Mr. Tinsley has not returned telephone calls.

To win a new trial, Skakel’s attorneys must show that Mr. Bryant’s account is evidence that was not available at the time of his trial and likely would have changed the verdict.

In the tape played yesterday, Mr. Kennedy, who did not know Mr. Hasbrouck, asked, “Were you guys up there on that night, on that night before Halloween?”

“That night we weren’t up there, unfortunately, we weren’t around at that time,” Mr. Hasbrouck replied, according to a transcript of the conversation.

In a different phone conversation, Mr. Bryant told Mr. Kennedy to focus on Mr. Hasbrouck.

“They need to interview and focus on this guy Adolph because he said some very, very, very, very damaging statements that, I mean, just blew me away,” Mr. Bryant told Mr. Kennedy, according to a transcript.

Miss Moxley’s mother, Dorthy Moxley, has said that she still thinks Skakel is guilty.

Skakel attorney Hubert Santos said jurors should hear Mr. Bryant’s claim, which “shattered what had been a closed case.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Benedict said that the new evidence is unreliable and may not even be admissible. “It is simply not competent evidence,” he said.

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