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Skakel blames lawyer in latest Conn. murder appeal

Michael Skakel is trying get his 2002 murder convictioverturned by arguing his trial attorney failed competently defend him. | AP

Michael Skakel is trying to get his 2002 murder conviction overturned by arguing his trial attorney failed to competently defend him. | AP Photo

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VERNON, Conn. — Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s former attorney has been called as the first witness in a new appeal trial challenging Skakel’s 2002 murder conviction.

Lawyer Michael Sherman took the stand Tuesday in Rockville Superior Court. Skakel argues in the appeal that Sherman failed to competently defend him during his trial.

Skakel is the 52-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel. He’s serving 20 years to life in prison for the 1975 golf club bludgeoning of his Greenwich neighbor Martha Moxley when they were 15.

Skakel claims Sherman failed to challenge the state’s star witness and obtain evidence pointing to other suspects, did a poor job with jury selection and closing arguments and didn’t hire enough investigators and expert consultants.

Sherman says he did all he could to prevent Skakel’s conviction.

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