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Defense expert casts doubt on Skakel confessions

April 22, 2013

VERNON, Conn. (AP) — An expert on coerced confessions is casting doubt on testimony that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel (SKAY’-kul) confessed to a 1975 murder, saying the alleged statements were made at a reform school where he was subject to beatings and humiliation.

Richard Ofshe (OFF’-she) said Monday in Rockville Superior Court that the testimony was not reliable because of the environment. He also said one of the accounts contained details at odds with the crime.

Skakel’s attorneys are challenging his 2002 murder conviction, saying his trial attorney should have called an expert to rebut the testimony.

The trial attorney, Michael Sherman, says he believed he had destroyed the credibility of the testimony through cross-examinations.

Skakel is serving 20 years to life for Martha Moxley’s golf club bludgeoning when they were 15-year-old neighbors in Greenwich (GREN’-ich).

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