Transcript for Kennedy Cousin Could Be Released from Jail
Kennedy cousin, michael skakel, a stunning reversal. His conviction, overturned. Could he now be released from prison today, after spending a decade behind bars? That's what we're going to get to right now. It was a stunning reversal last week. The prosecutors do not want him to be released, pending that retrial. Abc's gio benitez has the latest. Reporter: Good morning to you. As soon as today, the convicted killer may be released on bail, after last week's stunning announcement that a connecticut judge threw out his murder conviction. He has spent ten years behind bars. Michael skakel's murder conviction may be overturned. But if prosecutors have their way, he'll stay in prison while he waits for a new trial. Skakel, nephew to bobby kennedy's widow, ethel, was accused of killing his neighbor and friend, 15-year-old martha moxley, in 1975, on halloween night. The murder remains a mystery, until skakel was convicted in 2002. 25 years after the murder. His sentence, 20 years to life. Moxley's brother, john, says the upcoming trial is opening old wounds. This retrial, is it for you like jumping into a time machine that just keeps taking you back to this really painful time? Oh, it's just a death a thousand times. Every time you do something like this, it takes hours, days off your life. Reporter: Skakel has always maintained his innocence. What I do every day is pray to god and to martha, that whoever did this crime is brought to justice. Reporter: But why the sudden retrial now? Well, last week, a judge ruled skakel's former lawyer, mickey sherman, did not provide a constitut constitutionally adequately defense. And that the failures were significant. Robert f. Kennedy jr., Who said his cousin didn't do it, agrees. He was preoccupied with glitter and the celebrity. You know, he said at one point to the bar association when he spoke to them, he said he intends to have a lot of fun on this case. You know, it was a man's life at stake. Reporter: Did that lawyer get caught up in the glitter and celebrity of it all? I think mickey clearly enjoyed it. But I think that's his personality type. Does it make him a bad lawyer? I don't think so. Reporter: When you hear the kennedys say that? I think the kennedys will say whatever they want to say. Reporter: Robert f. Kennedy jr. Told abc news, the suggestion that skakel may get away with murder is an attractive narrative. But he says it's simply not true. He insists police got the wrong guy, george. So many different angles, gio. Let's talk to our chief league affairs anchor, dan abrams. People hear the conviction is overturned. Of course, he has to be free, right? No. This is not a not guilty finding, by the court. What the court is saying, there were so many mistakes made by skakel's attorney, that he ought to get a new trial. For now, prosecutors get the right to appeal. What they're saying, hold off as a legal matter. He's not eligible for bail because now this case is in a different court. Not with the judge who made this ruling. As a result, you have to hold off on doing anything, hold off on releasing him until that's resolved. If he is going to end up getting a new trial. Meaning, if he survives the appeals, in effect, the prosecutors are saying, let's talk about it. But not until then. This was a surprising decision. I'm stunned by this. I covered the whole case. Did mickey sherman make some choices that were questionable? Ablutely. Did this reach the level of ineffective assistance of do counsel? That typically means that a lawyer is drunk, on drugs, not showing up for the case. The standard is so high. Not just a lawyer makes mistakes. No. And the judge kept trying to say this. This isn't just about mistakes, et cetera. It sounded from his ruling like he was saying he thought that mickey made a number of mistakes. I think there's an important point to make. The kennedy family is saying, michael is innocent, et cetera. This is crazy. He ought to be released. But what the judge is saying is that mickey sherman should have pointed the finger at another kennedy relative, tommy skakel, michael's brother. For all the claims that this has been a travesty of justice against michael skakel, which i believe they it has been, what the judge is saying, the defense team ought to have pointed the finger at michael's brother, tommy. This is a bizarre case, a bizarre ruling. But I think it's an uphill battle for michael skakel to be released on bail immediately.
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