Skakel wife is seeking divorce
By J.A. Johnson Jr.

The pressure of living with an accused murderer has apparently proved too much for the wife of Michael Skakel.

Margot Skakel has filed for divorce from her husband of nine years and with whom she has a 2-year-old son, friends and family members have confirmed.

Stamford attorney Michael Sherman, who is representing Skakel on charges he murdered Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley in 1975, said the couple had experienced "ups and downs" common to any marriage, and there was no single incident that precipitated the separation.

Sherman added, however, "You can't discount the pressure of being charged with murder has had on the marriage. And when you consider that Michael Skakel is innocent of this charge, the pressure is even greater."

The couple separated last month, only days before a hearing in state Superior Court in Stamford in which 40-year-old Skakel argued why he should be tried as a juvenile for a crime he allegedly committed when he was 15 years old. The judge's ruling on in which court Skakel should be tried is expected at any time.

According to friends and family, Skakel moved out of his home in Windham, N.Y., and has been staying with a brother in Darien.

Skakel's divorce lawyer, Jean Mahserjian of Clifton Park, N.Y., did not return a message seeking comment yesterday.

The decision to seek a divorce comes at a time when tensions in the Skakel household were further heightened by the fact that Margot's father, Robert Sheridan, was dying of cancer. He succumbed to his illness last week. Another of the woman's family members also is battling the disease.

Margot Skakel could not be reached for comment. Her brother, Bob Sheridan, yesterday suggested that while the couple had difficulties, Margot's original intent had not been to divorce her husband.

"She definitely didn't want it to come down to this," Sheridan said.

Margot Skakel is a niece of Manhattan lawyer Thomas Sheridan, who had acted as Michael Skakel's attorney shortly after Moxley was murdered on Oct. 30, 1975. Skakel had not been considered a suspect early on, however, as police believed his alibi that he had been miles from the crime scene at the time of the fatal attack.

Three years after the murder, in connection with a 1978 drunken driving accident in Windham, it was Thomas Sheridan who arranged for Skakel to be sent to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Maine where, according to former rehab residents who have testified in court, Skakel allegedly confessed to having murdered Moxley with a golf club.

Thomas and Robert Sheridan founded a popular ski resort in the Catskill community of Windham. The Skakel family has maintained a residence in Windham for decades, and Michael and Margot purchased their own house there in May for $290,000. Margot continues to live there with son George.

Friends and family members say that Skakel remains sober and continues to regularly attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Sherman characterized the couple's separation as "an amicable split," and that there is "every reason to believe they will be able to work out their issues and go their separate ways."

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