Do We HAVE to Root for Michael Skakel?

Michael Skakel is the Halloween of crime stories: trick or treat everywhere you look. Last month he wanted to move his GPS tracker to fit his ski boot. (Honest.) Now he’s got a libel suit against legal-schmeagel television personality Nancy Grace that just might be a winner.

From yesterday’s New York Times:

Ruling Clears Way for Skakel Libel Suit

A federal judge ruled that Michael C. Skakel’s libel claim could proceed against the television personality Nancy Grace and her associates over comments made on her current affairs show that falsely suggested DNA evidence tied him to Martha Moxley’s 1975 murder.

In a 27-page ruling that came down late Friday in Hartford, Judge Vanessa L. Bryant of United States District Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, clearing the way for Mr. Skakel’s civil complaint to move forward. The request to dismiss had been brought by Ms. Grace; Beth Karas, a legal commentator; and the program’s producers at Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting System.

The statements Mr. Skakel found objectionable were “not just a minor inaccuracy,” according to the judge, but rather ones involving some “stark” distinctions.

To wit: Grace and Karas asserted on the former’s HLN show that Skakel’s “DNA was found” in a tree near the crime scene. Except it wasn’t. Near, that is.  Not to mention, DNA evidence played no role in his conviction.

So that’s problematic.

To counter Skakel’s lawsuit, Grace et. al. argued that the judge should treat him as someone who might be libel-proof, “undeserving of a trial, simply because he had been convicted of a notorious murder and could not suffer any further reputational damage.”

That didn’t fly, either.

We’re not sure what the definition of justice is here for Skakel or Grace. But we’re pretty sure we know what poetic justice looks like.

Any way they could both lose? (See Iran-Iraq war for further details.)


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2 Responses to Do We HAVE to Root for Michael Skakel?

  1. Steve Stein says:

    Was DNA found at all? It was never an issue at trial.
    And sure, they can both lose – Grace can lose a libel suit by being found to have acted with malice with reckless disregard for the truth; and Skakel’s conviction can get upheld. Since the DNA (if indeed, such evidence ever existed) had no part in the conviction, these are 2 completely separate issues (so to speak).

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