August 28, 2002 11:50 AM

Despite his lawyers’ attempts, Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel won’t get a new trial for the 1975 murder of his then-neighbor, Martha Moxley, a Norwalk, Conn., Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday. But Judge John F. Kavanewsky Jr. said Skakel’s sentencing would likely continue into Thursday. The Associated Press reports that Kavanewsky rejected motions by Skakel’s defense team to point a finger of guilt at Kenneth Littleton, a tutor for the Skakel family at the time the 15-year-old Moxley was bludgeoned to death with a golf club. Kavanewsky also rejected defense claims that the prosecution inflamed the jury with photos of Moxley’s autopsy and other evidence. The jurist said he needed more time to review submissions before passing final sentence. Among the 100 documents in support of Skakel, 41, was a letter from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “During his short life, Michael has endured unusual suffering,” Kennedy wrote. “He was a small, sensitive child — the runt of the litter with a harsh and occasionally violent alcoholic father who both ignored and abused him.” Before sentencing (Skakel faces life in prison), the court is expected to hear from Martha’s mother, Dorothy, who has been quoted in interviews as saying she favors a life sentence for Skakel. Also, Skakel himself, who did not testify during the trial, may finally address the court.

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