Lawyer: Skakel's temper prevented his testimony

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Associated Press

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 1:07 PM

VERNON, Conn. (AP) — A trial attorney on Thursday defended his decision not to have Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel testify at his 2002 murder trial, saying he has a temper.

Attorney Michael Sherman said Skakel is intelligent, "but he does have a temper and he does get excited."

Sherman said he wasn't worried Skakel would "blow up," but he was concerned he could show anger and the jury would see that. He said he wanted the jury to see him as "sedate."

Skakel agreed he probably shouldn't testify, Sherman said. Skakel's current attorney said he wanted to testify.

Sherman testified Thursday in Skakel's appeal arguing he was deprived of effective legal representation.

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

Sherman also disclosed that Skakel's ex-wife had planned to write a book saying she had married a killer, but he thwarted that proposal.

Sherman said "whatever she had was so unbelievable and distorted," but he was concerned about public perceptions and the impact on the jury pool. Sherman said he had discussions with her attorney.

"It would be very damning," Sherman said. "Somehow we were able to stop that."

A prosecutor brought up the book as an example to try to show Sherman was effective in representing Skakel.

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