Chris Buck
September 26, 2016 11:46 AM

Fourteen years after Michael Skakel was convicted with the murder of his friend, 15 year old Martha Moxley, his cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written an explosive new book Framed that claims they got the wrong man.

In the book, Kennedy, writes Skakel was “framed” for a murder he never could have committed and names the two men Adolph Hasbrouck and Burr Tinsley, he believes are guilty of the murder. (Neither man was ever charged with the murder and neither could be reached for comment for this story.)

“Michael deserves to have his story told,” says Kennedy in an exclusive interview in this week’s PEOPLE. “Nobody understood what the facts were in the case. There was a narrative and a kind of prevailing orthodoxy and it was almost all together untrue.”

Kennedy’s book includes a list of alleged suspects, including Michael’s brother Tommy Skakel, in addition to Hasbrouck and Burr. “My aim is not to persuade people that Adolph and Burr committed the crime,” he explains. “I believe that they did and I believe that the evidence is almost incontrovertible. You could read the facts here and you could say there might be a reasonable doubt about whether they did it or not but I don’t think you can read the book and come away and know the facts and come away believing that Michael Skakel could have had anything to do with this crime.”

In the end, he says, “It’s a backdrop to a bigger story about how police can target a number of people who are innocent.”

Kennedy, the son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, who’s brother Rushton Skakel was Michael’s father, argues that a cast of characters, including Michael’s defense attorney Mickey Sherman, disgraced LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman who wrote Murder In Greenwich: Who Killed Martha Moxley, author Dominck Dunne, who wrote a fictional account of the murder, A Season In Purgatory and prosecutor Jonathan Benedict, who tried the case, all “framed” Michael, whom he says, “ended up at the confluence of where a number of people’s ambitions intersected.”

“It was all about ‘the Kennedy cousin,’” says RFK Jr. “Michael never saw himself as a ‘Kennedy cousin.’ He would have never been prosecuted if they had not given him the first name which was ‘Kennedy cousin.'”

For many years, he writes the Skakel family never had anything to do with the Kennedys. “They were an independent family with their own gestalt and they were suddenly dragged into this typhoon that ended up sweeping up Michael and destroying his life, ” says Kennedy. “It had to do with the hostility – a very toxic relationship between the press and my family. Michael got swept away by a storm that was generated by press relationship with the Kennedys. The whole notion of a rich Kennedy kid getting away with murder. That was like fly paper to the press.”

Skakel who’s conviction was set aside in 2013 when a judge ruled his attorney had not provided him with an adequate defense, now awaits the State Supreme Court’s decision on whether he will receive a new trial or be sent back to prison. “He wears a GPS bracelet,” says Kennedy. “He calls it his Lindsay Lohan bracelet and he wears it on his hand because he takes his son skiing every weekend. His son’s a ski racer and he tunes the skis for him and other kids on the team and coaches.”

Meanwhile, he says that Michael is “very frightened” about the prospect of going back to prison. Still, he adds, “He is a deeply spiritual person. He spends a lot of time praying and he believes that everything happened for a reason. He said that when God wants him out of prison he will get out. Then nobody will be able to keep him in.”

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