Special Counsel Robert Mueller pursues an investigation of no specific crime, a probe designed to topple the President of the United States, Donald Trump. As this unfolds, the justice system seeks to reverse the sentence for a violent crime – murder – and has already bailed out the man convicted in the case in 2002. The connection to the still-powerful Kennedy family has everything to do with it.
Michael Skakel is the nephew of Ethel Kennedy, who was married to Robert F. Kennedy, president John F. Kennedy’s brother and his choice for attorney general. Michael graduated from Curry College and in 1994 and worked on the reelection campaign of Edward Moore Kennedy, JFK and RFK’s youngest brother, better known as Ted.
Michael lived in upscale Greenwich, Connecticut where on October 30, 1975, somebody took a golf club and bludgeoned neighbor Martha Moxley, 15, to death. In his 1998 book Murder in Greenwich: Who Killed Martha Moxley? detective Mark Fuhrman showed how Greenwich police served as a private security force for the wealthy Skakel family. Inexperienced with murder cases, local police also botched the investigation, particularly the crime scene.
The six-iron murder weapon was from a set owned by the Skakels, and the evidence pointed strongly to someone in the family, particularly Michael, known for violent behavior. So Martha Moxley had good reason to fear him. The case went cold and Michael Skakel, also 15 at the time, continued his privileged life. The police tendered a theory of some mysterious transient and did their best to block Fuhrman’s investigation.
Fuhrman had no doubt of Skakel’s guilt, and his book helped reopen the case. In 2002, Michael Skakel was sentenced to 20 years to life for murdering his neighbor Martha Moxley with a golf club in Greenwich. In 2003, In 2003, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote a lengthy article in the Atlantic charging that Michael Skakel was innocent and his imprisonment a miscarriage of justice.
In 2013 a lower court overturned Skakel’s conviction and he was released on bail. The
Connecticut Supreme court reinstated Skakel’s conviction in 2016. Last week, the state’s high court vacated his earlier conviction and awarded convicted murderer Skakel a new trial.
In the 4-3 decision, the court ruled that Skakel’s attorney did not show evidence of a possible alibi from a witness, Denis Ossorio. This allegedly enabled the prosecution unfairly to raise questions about Skakel’s whereabouts at the time of the crime.
Skakel’s current lawyer maintains that the previous attorney, Michael Sherman, did not make good choices in the case. That’s it, and there is no new exculpatory evidence in the form of DNA or anything from forensic science.
The wealthy Skakel had the attorney he wanted, but the high court thought it knew better. Michael Skakel, now 58, is free on bail, but he is hardly the only case of police and the courts giving special treatment to the Kennedy family.
On July 18, 1969, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy drove a car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts. Kennedy escaped unharmed but 28-year-old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died. George Killen, detective with the Massachusetts state police, and chief of a never-revealed investigation of the case, told author Leo Damore that Ted Kennedy “killed that girl the same as if he put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger.”
In the 1988 Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-up, Damore showed how the Kennedy family deployed their influence to quash investigations of the incident and shield Kennedy from accountability. He got only a two-year suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident and in 1970 was reelected to the U.S. Senate.
The recent film Chappaquiddick did capture something of the arrogant Kennedy’s facility for falsehood but also cut him plenty of slack. The film failed to show that Kennedy was really plastered at the party. He took Mary Jo Kopechne for a ride to have sex with her, and she was not wearing panties at the time.
Worst of all, the film explains that Kennedy went on to be the “lion of the senate,” allegedly a great man. No word of Ted Kennedy reaching out to Soviet boss Yuri Andropov, formerly head of the KGB, for help opposing Ronald Reagan in the 1984 election. No word that, even for liberal Democrats such as Henry Fairlie, Kennedy was “buffoon in chief.”
Kennedy relative Michael Skakel, who worked on Ted’s 1994 campaign, is now free on bail, murder conviction vacated, and awaiting a new trial. In Murder in Greenwich, Mark Fuhrman wondered: “Are there two systems of justice in this country – one for the rich, and another for the rest of us?”
For the Kennedy family and their relatives, yes. For President of the United States Donald Trump, no way. Even with no crime he is the subject of an investigation, as the deep state deploys everything its power to remove the president from office.