Michael Skakel's Brother Seeks Support
for Appeal, Sentence
By John Christoffersen - Associated Press

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) - Michael Skakel's family is urging supporters to send money for his appeal and write letters on his behalf to the judge who will sentence him for the 1975 slaying of Martha Moxley. In an e-mail from Skakel's brother, Stephen, supporters are asked to "assume that Michael's financial resources for appeal are nonexistent at this time," despite that his grandfather ran one of the largest privately held companies in the world.

The contents of the e-mail, which were given to The Associated Press by someone close to the Skakel family on condition of anonymity, were first reported Tuesday in the Hartford Courant.

Stephen Skakel didn't immediately respond to telephone messages or e-mail sent by the AP seeking comment Tuesday.

Michael Skakel, 41, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, was convicted last month of beating Moxley to death with a golf club when they were 15-year-old neighbors in wealthy Greenwich. Skakel faces between 10 years to life when he is sentenced on Aug. 9.

He is being held at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.

The e-mail requests friends and family write Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. and ask for leniency. It includes points that should be mentioned, such as any anecdotes about how Skakel has helped them: "i.e.: helped me get sober, mentor to my children, etc ... ."

"!!!DO NOT SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THE JUDGE OR THE SYSTEM," the e-mail reads.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Tuesday he planned to write a letter on his cousin's behalf.

"I'm going to send a letter of support to the judge, talking about what he's done with his life, his extraordinary devotion to service," Kennedy said.

Michael Sherman, Skakel's defense attorney, said he was not familiar with the e-mail, but said such letters are common practice.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with it and it's totally appropriate to encourage people to write letters to the judge indicating how well they know Michael Skakel," Sherman said.

John Moxley, the victim's brother, said Skakel should accept responsibility for his actions.

"I don't know how he could expect any leniency from the court until he shows some remorse," Moxley said. "I think it's a bit delusional."



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