USA

Family dynasty protects a ‘killer’ Kennedy

Of course, he gets away with it.

He’s a Kennedy.

Forty-five years to the very day Martha Moxley, just 15 years old, was savagely beaten to death, found in a sexually humiliating pose with her pants and underwear yanked down, stabbed through the neck with a broken golf club, Michael Skakel, convicted of Martha’s murder in 2002, is now a free man, never to be retried.

Though the murder weapon matched to Skakel’s late mother’s set, though Martha had written about her unease with teenage neighbor Michael in her diary — “a real asshole . . . I really have to stop going over there” — and though Michael, after the murder, bludgeoned a squirrel to death with a golf club, then tacked its remains over a hole with tees, it took law enforcement and prosecutors 25 years to make the arrest.

In those intervening decades, Skakel was a full-blown alcoholic who wrapped his car around a tree at 17, attempted suicide at least once, allegedly confessed to multiple people that he had done something so terrible he had to leave the country, that he may have killed someone, that he climbed a tree that night and masturbated as he spied on Martha undressing in her bedroom, that he stood over her dead body that night and ejaculated. He allegedly told at least one other person that he killed Martha.

But these are Kennedys, and the arc of justice is slow to nonexistent. Ask not for shame or empathy, either. In 2000, when Skakel was finally arraigned in a Connecticut court, he had the gall to confront Moxley’s grieving mother.

“You’ve got the wrong guy,” he said.

Martha Moxley
Martha Moxley in 1974AP

A jury didn’t think so. Nor was the judge swayed by the input of Skakel’s aunt, the widow Ethel Kennedy, who took it upon herself to write a letter in defense of her poor nephew, the real victim here.

Kennedys, no matter whom they harm or kill, are always the victims.

“I beg you to . . . end this nightmare,” Ethel began, explaining that Michael, with his learning disability, never had a chance, “becoming the victim of [parental] alienation, infuriation and permissiveness.”

The victim! What else could poor Michael do but lash out at his pretty neighbor, who rejected Michael, and beat her brains out?

Ethel went on to speciously claim that portly, ruddy-faced Michael grew up to become “a world class athlete” with a “love of life” and “exquisite manners.”

You can’t make this up.

Naturally, Martha was never mentioned in Ethel’s letter, nor Martha’s mother. You’d think Ethel would have deigned to express some sympathy.

Most damning: Ethel never wrote that her nephew was innocent.

Really, aside from Ethel’s son RFK Jr. — an anti-vaxxer who disgustingly, baselessly suggested the real killers were two black teenagers from The Bronx — no one thinks Michael Skakel is innocent.

Yet wealth, privilege, power, and the constant pull on a much-used defense — “But I’m a Kennedy!” — resulted in an overturned conviction two years ago. It was a narrow 4-3 decision, with state Supreme Court Justice Carmen E. Espinosa, in her dissent, alluding to Skakel’s claim of Kennedy victimhood while availing himself of the Kennedy myth.

Other convicted felons, Espinosa wrote, “would undoubtedly be thrilled to receive such special treatment. Unfortunately for them, the vast majority do not share the petitioner’s financial resources, social standing, ethnicity or connections to a political dynasty.”

Indeed: On Friday, prosecutors announced that they would not retry Skakel for Martha’s murder. Her brother John told the press that his family had made their peace with the decision. “His life will never be the same,” John said. “Mine will never be the same. I wouldn’t want to walk a mile in his shoes.”

It’s incredible that after all this time and all these women — Mary Jo Kopechne, Rosemary Kennedy, Mimi Alford, Mary Richardson Kennedy, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Martha Moxley, to name but a few — emotionally abused, physically brutalized or worse by Kennedy men, that we still refer to this as a political dynasty rather than what it is: a criminal one.

The people inside that dynasty know the truth. As Skakel is said to have confessed to a boarding-school classmate: “I’m going to get away with murder. I’m a Kennedy.”

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