Michael Skakel: Details of New Evidence

Here are the details of the "new evidence" in the Michael Skakel/Martha Moxley murder case. The source of the information, Tony Bryant, who kept it quiet for 26 years, is coincidentally, a cousin of Kobe Bryant.

The essence of the new information is this: Three young black males, including Bryant, traveled to Belle Haven the night of the murder. They were hanging out with another Belle Haven kid who was then 11, and who died of a drug overdose at 17. Two of the black males were obsessed with Martha and planned to kill her "caveman style." The third, Tony Bryant (Kobe's cousin) wanted no part of it and returned to New York. Days later, the other two reportedly confessed to Bryant, telling him they had picked up a golf club on the Skakel's lawn and used it to bash Martha's head in. Bryant sat on the info until December, 2001, when he told another classmate, Tres Mills, who had been trying to write a screenplay about the murder and had sought out Bryant's help.

Bryant and Mills attended the same private school in Greenwich as Moxley. Mills said Bryant refused to tell his story to the police, even after Skakel was convicted. Mills says he approached both the prosecution and defense before the trial with Bryant's story but wouldn't reveal Bryant's name. He identified him only as "one of two blacks in the class."

Skakel's new lawyers confirm that Bryant has now "reluctantly" told his story to their investigators. Tres Mills now speaks publicly about the incident. He used to work for CBS News but was fired after he shook up Dorothy Moxley with his story during one of her appearances there.

How viable is the new information?

Among questions raised by Bryant's statement are how the presence of three young black men in the largely white Belle Haven community the night of the murder did not appear in any of the sundry police reports; their names did not surface during the course of the trial.

The Hartford Courant knows the identity of the two youths Bryant claims are the real murderers--but they won't release them because they have not yet been contacted and offered an opportunity to comment.

Skakel's new lawyers plan to use the information in a request for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. Newly discovered evidence is evidence that was not available to the defense at trial and which could not be discovered even with the exercise of due diligence. If Tres Mills spoke with both prosecutors and defense, then his information was likely known. Mills says he spoke at length with Mickey Sherman and with the prosecution. Sounds to us like either Mills' story didn't check out, there was some other credibility issue involved--or without revealing Bryant's name or the names of the two suspected of the murders, further investigation proved fruitless.

As soon as the guy [Bryant] told me, I told everyone - the prosecutor, the defense. Nobody listened to me. ... All I've done is try to do the right thing. I must look like a whack to these people. "I tried to reach the judge before sentencing. No dice," Mills said.

Mills acknowledged that he likely was written off as someone seeking to exploit the high-profile case for personal gain. "I think they thought this was just another jerk trying to make a buck off a tragedy," Mills said.

We still believe there was a complete lack of physical and reliable evidence presented at trial to convict Michael Skakel, and that he was convicted as a result of the pre-trial publicity surrounding two books on the murder and sympathy for Mrs. Moxley, who indeed, is a sympathetic victim. As to whether this new report turns out to solve the murder, we'll wait and see.

We expect Dominick Dunne and Mark Fuhrman will weigh in any day to discredit the information. Stay tuned.

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