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Judge Rejects New Trial for Skakel

August 28, 2002

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NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ A judge refused to order a new murder trial for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel on Wednesday, but said his sentencing for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley would likely continue into Thursday.

Norwalk Superior Court Judge John F. Kavanewsky Jr. rejected motions by Skakel’s defense team, who claimed his lawyers were hamstrung by the prosecution’s failure to turn over a police sketch during the trial.

Kavanewsky also rejected defense claims that the prosecution inflamed the jury by using an audio-video presentation that included photos of Martha’s autopsy and Skakel’s voice on a tape describing his actions the night she was killed.

Kavanewsky said the hearing would continue Wednesday afternoon, but said he would need additional time to review the submissions before pronouncing sentence on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Skakel’s attorneys filed more than 100 pages of documents, including letters from Skakel supporters such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The defense said Skakel was abused by his father and nannies but had overcome a difficult upbringing to lead an exemplary life and should receive leniency.

``During his short life, Michael has endured unusual suffering,″ Kennedy wrote. ``He was a small, sensitive child _ the runt of the litter with a harsh and occasionally violent alcoholic father who both ignored and abused him.″

Before sentencing, the court is expected to hear from Martha’s mother, Dorothy, and may hear from Skakel, who did not testify during the trial.

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