Part Two: The Saga of Ken Littleton
By J. R. de Szigethy
Some Americans, including members of law enforcement, Criminal Lawyers, and Private Investigators, have alleged over the past several decades that a man named Kenneth Littleton is a serial killer, and that among his victims are Martha Moxley, who was brutally beaten to death at age 15 in Greenwich, Connecticut, back in 1975. Littleton, however, has always maintained that he is the victim of those trying to destroy him by framing him as a suspected serial killer. Littleton's supporters include members of law enforcement, Criminal Lawyers, and members of the Media who believe there are two crimes involved in this story; the brutal murder of Martha Moxley, and a concerted effort by various individuals to Cover-up this horrific crime. Is Kenneth Littleton a dangerous murderer, or a man falsely accused for the benefit of others?
I. A MURDER IN GREENWICH
On October 30th, 1975, young Kenneth Littleton's life was looking up; on that day he moved into a huge house in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich, Connecticut, to serve as a Tutor to 2 teen-aged boys, members of a prominent local family, the Skakels. Guarded by it's own private security force, Belle Haven was an exclusive enclave for the wealthy, many of whom derived their fortune from the nearby "Financial Capital of the World," New York City. Greenwich lay just across the border of New York State and Connecticut, the latter having the advantage of tax laws that favored those who had accumulated large sums of money and intended to keep as much as possible.
Residents of Belle Haven had every reason to be as happy as any Americans can be, but as if they were characters in a Gothic novel, many were not. Behind the well-manicured lawns and imposing facades of their impressive homes lay many dark secrets. Rushton Skakel was a man of enormous wealth but haunted by tragedy and personal failings. His father George, Sr. had prospered during the Great Depression, while other fortunes were lost, by cornering a niche in the coal industry. George Sr. and his wife died in a plane crash in 1955, a Fate that would also be visited upon their son George, Jr. Rushton's wife Anne died a slow and painful death due to cancer in 1973, leaving behind 7 motherless children. Rushton's response to these tragedies was to seek escape in the bottle. His children thus found themselves neglected during a decade, the 1970s, in which "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" were tempting diversions. As a consequence, 2 of Rushton's sons, Tommy, age 17, and Michael, age 15, were under-performing in the tony private school in which they were enrolled. When the crisis could no longer be ignored, Rushton responded by "throwing money" at the problem, hiring Kenneth Littleton to be their private tutor. Littleton came with impressive qualifications; an accomplished athlete during high school, Littleton graduated from a respected College and was a Sports Coach at the private school the Skakel boys attended.
On October 30th, 1975, Rushton Skakel was away on one of his frequent hunting trips, so Kenneth Littleton escorted the Skakel kids to the local Country Club for dinner. How much alcohol was consumed by them during the dinner, including those who were under-age, is a subject of debate. What is known is that when they all returned home, Littleton continued to unpack his belongings, while Tommy and Michael went outside to hang out with friends. Geographically, Belle Haven is a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the ocean, and thus subject to cold winds. On this night in question, the temperature was dropping to the freezing level, and the wind chill from the brisk winds ranged from approximately 21 down to 15 degrees. (1) Nor was it just any night. In Greenwich, by tradition, the night before Halloween is known as "Mischief Night." By custom, the teen-agers would go out on that night to commit pranks such as throwing eggs onto houses and launching rolls of toilet tissue throughout the branches of trees.
Tommy and Michael Skakel, however, were not interested in pranks, and instead sought the company of fellow teens in a refuge from the cold - one of the large cars parked outside the Skakel house. The car had earned the name the "Lust-mobile" as it was a convenient place for teenagers to make out with each other away from the prying eyes of those inside the Skakel home. On this night, Tommy was making minor sexual overtures to his neighbor, Martha Moxley, although she was rebuffing his advances. Sitting on the other side of Martha was Michael. The brothers suffered a severe case of sibling rivalry, which often escalated into violence. Tommy was subject to fits of sudden and uncontrollable rage which doctors determined was the result of a serious head injury when he was a child. By his own admission, Michael had become an alcoholic by age 13, supplemented by the use of marijuana, cocaine, and LSD. At one point, Tommy and Martha left the car, which then travelled several miles away to the home of cousin Jimmy Terrien, where the other Skakel boys, including Michael, were planning to view the American debut of the British Comedy Monty Python's Flying Circus, which aired at 10 p.m. (2)
Back at the Skakel house, around 10 p.m., one of the staff members of the Skakel family asked Littleton to investigate loud noises outside, which included dogs barking and the voices of one or more humans. Littleton went outside briefly, and then returned to his viewing of "The French Connection" motion picture playing on the television. Shortly thereafter, Tommy Skakel came in for the evening. Tommy's demeanor did not seem unusual, his tutor Littleton would later claim.
Later, in the early morning hours, the Skakel residence received a telephone call from their neighbor, Dorthy Moxley. Martha had not returned home, and she had last been seen in the company of Tommy Skakel. Unlike the Skakel family, the family of Dorthy and David Moxley, and their 2 children, John and Martha, was a happy one, with the two kids popular in school, at which they were excelling in their studies and extra-curricular activities. (2)
Mrs. Moxley's husband was out of town on business, so she spent most of the night telephoning various neighbors in an attempt to find her missing daughter. Dorthy Moxley knew that she lived in one of the safest communities in America, but, as any mother would, she was concerned about her child, who had never been out so late before. Mrs. Moxley called the Skakel home again at 3 a.m. She then called Jimmy Terrien's house to speak to him, but his mother found that he wasn't there. Later, Dorthy Moxley called the Greenwich Police Department, and neighbors gathered at her house as their apprehension increased. Hours later, it would be a teen-aged friend of Martha's who found her body under a tree on the Moxley estate. Someone had repeatedly clubbed young Martha to death with a golf club. Martha's blond hair had been turned red by the copious amounts of her blood that bled from the multiple wounds on her head. The young girl had been assaulted in more than one location and her body dragged, once face down across the gravel of the Moxley driveway, into a more secluded spot. This suggested to law enforcement that Martha's attacker was familiar with the landscape of the neighborhood. Such was the force with which she was beaten, the golf club shattered into pieces, with one piece used as a dagger to stab her through her neck. Martha's pants and underwear were pulled down to her knees. It would quickly be determined that the murder weapon was part of a rare set of Toney Penna golf clubs from the Skakel house, each piece of which had a monogram of the original owner, Mrs. Skakel, inscribed on the leather handle. The piece containing the leather handle was the most crucial, as it was the most likely section of the shattered golf club to have the killer's fingerprints on it. That was the one piece that disappeared. (3)
Murder was not a crime that the Greenwich Police Department was accustomed to investigate. At first, the local police theorized that no one in Belle Haven could have committed this unspeakable crime, thus the perpetrator had to have been an outsider. However, the guarded entry point to the community made this scenario unlikely. Next, a neighbor of Martha's was considered what is today called a "person of interest," but eventually that person was ruled out as a suspect.
Over the course of time, 2 separate theories by "Profilers" would reach similar conclusions as to their "Profile" of the killer. Dr. Donald P. Kenefick concluded that the perpetrator was most likely a teen-aged white male, possessing the physical strength of an athlete, prone to violence, and sexually immature or inadequate. More ominously, Dr. Kenefick concluded that the murderer may have "blacked out" his memory of this crime, and thus having no memory, may be able to pass a polygraph examination. A later study by FBI Profilers suggested that Martha knew her assailant, given that there were no "defensive wounds" inflicted upon her body, and that the killer had likely been sexually rejected by Martha.
All of these factors ruled out Kenneth Littleton as a suspect, especially given that there was no evidence he had ever met Martha Moxley, and his whereabouts that night were witnessed by others. Littleton has always categorically denied that he murdered Martha Moxley. However, both Tommy Skakel and Michael Skakel would each tell a story to the police, which, years later, they would change. When first questioned by the police, both Tommy and Michael claimed they only had casual conversations with Martha inside the family car. Tommy claimed he went inside his house around 10 p.m. to write a paper on Abraham Lincoln, which had been a school assignment, a story he later had to admit was false. Michael claimed he returned to his house around 11 p.m. from Jimmy Terrien's home. Dorthy Moxley was among those who heard loud noises outside her house around 10 p.m. To this day, investigators are focused on two conflicting theories; that Martha was murdered around 10 p.m., and that she was murdered around midnight. (3)
II. A COVER-UP?
On the day after Martha's murder, Mrs. Moxley noticed something unusual; the driveway of the Skakel home was suddenly populated by limousines with out-of-State license plates. (1) Years later, Ken Littleton would offer an explanation during his Testimony in Court; according to Littleton, approximately 15 lawyers had been summoned on a moment's notice by Rushton Skakel to his home. And, according to the family Tutor, he and most of the Skakel children, along with Jimmy Terrien, then hurriedly left town for the Skakel family's private ski resort in Upstate New York.
Despite all of this, in the early stages of the investigation, Rushton Skakel appeared to be co-operative with the police. That changed when the police began to zero in on Tommy Skakel in their search for Martha's killer. Rushton Skakel then "Lawyered-up," rescinding permission he had given the Greenwich Police to facilitate their investigation. He would not allow Tommy to be interviewed, nor release his medical records. Rather, written questions could be submitted through their Criminal Lawyer. Michael would eventually be sent off to Elan, a private, rural school in Maine which sought to modify the behavior of troubled youths. (2)
Soon after this murder occurred, many following this story divided into two camps. One held that as the weeks, months, years, and then decades dragged on with no arrest in the case, the reason for this was due to incompetence on the part of the Greenwich Police Department and other authorities investigating this murder. The second camp, which includes investigative reporters, members of law enforcement, including Prosecutors, and ordinary citizens believes that there was a concerted Cover-up initiated by more than one person before Martha Moxley was even lowered into her early grave. Participants in this perceived Cover-up include members of law enforcement, Criminal Lawyers, Private Investigators, and relatives of suspects. An early example of the belief in a Cover-up was reported by the Associated Press 5 months after the murder, in which State Prosecutor Donald Browne complained that a certain, unnamed family had "clearly impeded" the investigation. (2)
The only law enforcement action of any note in the early stages of the investigation was taken against Ken Littleton. A few months after the murder, 2 Greenwich Police Officers visited the Headmaster of the private school where Littleton still taught. After their discussion, Ken Littleton was fired. When Littleton was hired at another nearby private school, the same cops had the same discussion with his boss, with the same results; Littleton was fired again. Ken Littleton would never work in the Education profession again. (2) He would over the next 2 decades drift from job to job, claiming his life had been destroyed by those who wanted to frame him for the murder of Martha Moxley. He would admit to alcohol and drug problems, and became convinced that operatives were trying to poison him. (3)
7 years after Martha's murder, with the case apparently cold, veteran crime reporter Len Levitt began to investigate and would eventually write the Definitive book on this case. Levitt has stated he does not believe there was a cover-up on the part of the law enforcement authorities. Instead, Levitt, who worked with many members of law enforcement involved, has nothing but praise for them all, even those who were in heated disagreement as to whom it was they believed had murdered young Martha. Levitt worked most closely with Detective Frank Garr, a Greenwich cop whose life's obsession was to bring the murderer of Martha Moxley to Justice.
Levitt's newspaper, the Greenwich Time, filed a Freedom of Information request for the original police files in 1982, which detailed mistakes made on the part of the local cops. Such an action gives the appearance that the newspaper was intent on reporting on this case, if not actually solving it. After years of frustration over perceived inaction on this case, Martha Moxley's mother Dorthy also came on board, meeting with Levitt, an avenue her husband had chosen not to follow. The meeting reduced Mrs. Moxley to tears but she hoped, as did Levitt, that publicity on the case from a news Media report would prompt officials to take action on the case. However, for 9 long years, Levitt's story on this case sat in the can as his newspaper refused to publish it, for reasons Levitt could not explain. (4) Such inaction on the part of Levitt's newspaper only served to fuel the suspicions of those who believe a Cover-up had been engaged in this case.
16 years passed since Martha's murder with no apparent movement in the investigation. David Moxley died at the age of 57. Michael Skakel cleaned up his act, beating his alcoholism, and encouraged others to do so. Michael also became an accomplished athlete in competitive skiing. Len Levitt continued in his impressive career, despite the one story he couldn't get published. Then, in 1991, something unexpected happened in Florida that aroused public interest in a case long forgotten. On a night that is Sacred to those of the Christian Faith, Good Friday, a young woman phoned 2 of her friends in Palm Beach, Florida, alleging that she had just been raped. The man she accused was William Kennedy Smith, a relative of the Skakel family. Willie Smith was eventually charged with rape, and this event became a Media circus. Smith's wealthy family spared no expense in the hiring of skilled criminal layers, who reportedly utilized 5 Private Investigators. One was Patrick McKenna, based in Florida, the State where Willie Smith's accuser resided. McKenna would later work for the Defense Team of O. J. Simpson, accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman, and Casey Anthony, accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Both were Acquitted.
Another Private Eye hired was California-based Anthony Pellicano, the self-described "Private Eye to the Stars" who prospered in part due to his self-admitted connections to the American Mafia as well as his work as an FBI Informant. Pellicano's clients included Elizabeth Taylor, her friend Michael Jackson, once he was accused of child molestation, and action star Steven Seagal, who would later testify as a Prosecution Witness in the trial of Peter Gotti, brother of Gambino Family Godfather John Gotti. (5)
The Private Investigators working on behalf of the Willie Smith Defense Team were besieged with an enormous amount of information and evidence to be vetted. One such was a rumor circulated in the Media that claimed that Willie Smith had been a houseguest of the Skakel family on the night that Martha Moxley was murdered. Upon scrutiny, the story turned out to be false, but the very reporting of such introduced millions of Americans to Greenwich' unsolved murder. And, at long last, the Greenwich Time finally ran Len Levitt's story. Thus, one consequence of the Smith trial was the re-opening of the investigation into the murder of Martha Moxley. (6)
III. ENTER DOMINICK DUNNE
Like Kenneth Littleton, Dunne was a graduate of Williams College, and Dunne would go on to become one of many war heroes of the Second World War. Like the Skakel family, Dunne was born into a wealthy Irish-Catholic family, and experienced the discrimination each family was subjected to by the New England WASP communities in regards to their religion and Irish heritage. During the 1950s and 1960s, Dunne had achieved success as a Writer and Producer in the television and film industry. However, by 1979, Dunne had hit rock bottom due to alcoholism. At that point, Dunne retreated to the woods where he beat his addiction, and sought to re-invent himself at middle age.
In 1982, Dunne's 22-year-old daughter Dominique was strangled to death by her boyfriend. During his trial, Dunne was disturbed by what he perceived as a Judicial system that was stacked in favor of the perpetrators of crime, to the Detriment of Justice for their victims. One key moment in the trial occurred when the Judge refused to allow a previous girlfriend of the Defendant to testify as to how she had been brutalized 10 times and hospitalized twice due to beatings by her violent boyfriend. Her injuries included a broken nose, a ruptured eardrum, and a collapsed lung. The Jury Foreman would later tell the Media that had all the evidence of the Defendant's violence been introduced into evidence, that the Verdict would have been Murder instead of Voluntary Manslaughter. (1)
Dominique's killer served less than 3 years in prison. Once the man was released, Dunne hired Private Eye Anthony Pellicano to keep tabs on the convicted felon. Dunne even contemplated having him killed. Dunne's emotional salvation came when he decided to pick up a pen instead of a gun, and write about Justice and Injustice in America. (2) His first piece was on the murder trial of his daughter's killer, which appeared in the reborn glamour magazine of the 1980s, Vanity Fair.
Dominick Dunne thus found his calling in life. Dunne's next big case was the 1985 re-trial of Newport, Rhode Island socialite Claus von Bulow, accused of the attempted murder of his wife, Sunny Bulow, by injecting her with insulin. Among von Bulow's Defense Team was Criminal Lawyer Alan Dershowitz. John McNally, a retired New York City Police Officer, was a key Private Investigator on the case, whose future clients would be Godfather John Gotti, his brother Peter, and O. J. Simpson. Von Bulow was Convicted in his first trial but Acquitted in a subsequent re-trial. Dunne's reporting on von Bulow was highly critical, of both the Defendant and the American Judicial system.
Dunne's next big assignment was the Willie Smith rape trial. During that trial, Dunne saw a parallel to his daughter's case, when the Judge refused to allow the testimony of three other women who claimed they too had been raped by Willie Smith. However, the Judge also disallowed mention of the sexual history of the accused rape victim to be entered into evidence. (3)
Still, millions of Americans had read - or heard - negative information about Smith's accuser, when a Feature article on her was published in the New York Times. Florida State law prohibited the Media from disclosing the identity of an alleged victim of rape, as did the policy of the Times. The Times violated both by running their Tabloid-style story, naming the alleged victim by name, and repeating negative information about her character that could prejudice members of the public against her, including the potential jury pool in Florida that would later render a Verdict against the man she accused. Among the tactics used in the story was information about the private life of the woman's 2-year-old daughter obtained by peeping through the window of her home. Reaction within the journalism industry was nationwide and hostile. A near-riot erupted in the offices of the New York Times, where over 300 members of the Media denounced the fact that the "Newspaper of Record" had resorted to such tactics. One reporter stated: "We don't understand why you've got New York Times reporters peeping in windows!" The man who reportedly dug up much of the negative information used in the Times article was none other than Private Eye Anthony Pellicano. (4)
The tabloid journalism of the New York Times only served to further increase the Media frenzy that surrounded the trial. Dominick Dunne was one of only a select few reporters who were able to claim the small number of seats inside the Courtroom, which was broadcast on live television. One Defense Witness was Dr. Henry Lee, who had gained an international reputation in the growing field of DNA evidence as Director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory. At trial, Dr. Lee testified that the lack of grass stains on the pantyhose of the accuser indicated there had not been a struggle between herself and the man she claimed had raped her. (5) Lead Criminal Lawyer Roy Black, who would go on to Defend a man accused of smuggling 75 tons of cocaine, was so mesmerizing in his performance before the Jury that after case was over, one of the Jurors married the flamboyant attorney. The Verdict that Jury returned in the charges against Willie Smith was Not Guilty! The total costs for Smith's Defense was estimated at over $1 million, which included $4,500 for Dr. Lee, between $56,000 to $72,000 for public opinion polls conducted by Duke University's Institute for Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, and between $250,000 to $500,000 for Smith's Legal Team. (6)
Once again, in his reporting in Vanity Fair, Dominick Dunne expressed his outrage over what he considered a miscarriage of Justice. Moving on, Dominick Dunne set out to solve the murder of Martha Moxley. Dunne contacted Dorthy Moxley, who agreed to meet with him. Mrs. Moxley had already been working with Len Levitt, and Dunne was quite different; Levitt had a college Degree in Journalism; Dunne did not. Levitt honed his craft through many years as a crime reporter for newspapers and magazines; Dunne was a Hollywood insider and writer who utilized Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Pop Culture to bring his stories to a mass audience.
Dunne also had credentials few could offer; both he and Mrs. Moxley had lost their daughters to murderers. Also, Dunne and Mrs. Moxley were united in their belief that a Cover-up was on-going to prevent an arrest in the murder of young Martha. However, Dunne did not have the evidence to publicly accuse anyone of Cover-up to the point where he could not be sued. So what Dunne did was what he had done previously with other crime stories; he published the story as "Fiction," in a novel entitled "A Season in Purgatory."
The book came out in April, 1993 and was an immediate best-seller. Dunne basically told a story that contained elements of the Martha Moxley murder - and alleged Cover-up, with elements he witnessed first-hand from the rape trial of Willie Smith. Dunne also borrowed a few plot lines form the classic novel of Catholic angst, "Brideshead Re-Visited." Dunne's book reflected the opinion by some in law enforcement that there were 2 people involved in the Moxley murder. The book, and subsequent CBS Mini-series also has a horrific scene where a sleazy Private Investigator, working on behalf of the wealthy family, threatens to destroy the life of the wife and children of the key Prosecution Witness against the murderer of the young girl. Dunne's book also reflects his contempt for Criminal Lawyers, as evidenced by the character of the Attorney who is completely devoid of morality as she aggressively Defends a client she knows is guilty of murder. Dunne's intent to make the Martha Moxley murder a nationwide story proved successful. In Media appearances, Dunne did not hide the fact that he based his novel on the real-life events in Greenwich. This helped fuel a perception among many Americans that a Cover-up had prevented Justice from being brought about in this case.
But there was much more going on in this case, and a lot was happening behind the scenes. Once the story of the Moxley murder became news again during the Smith rape case, Rushton Skakel decided to throw money at this problem hovering over his family's reputation. Thus, Rushton hired a Private Investigation firm, Sutton Associates of Long Island, New York, comprised mostly of retired FBI Agents and former Police Detectives. The firm was told to spare no expense in it's own investigation of the Moxley murder. Head investigator James Murphy, a retired FBI Agent, agreed to take the case on the condition that his firm would be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it led, even if it implicated a member of the Skakel family. Rushton agreed, but required every Private Eye working on the case to sign a Confidentiality Agreement, which precluded sharing their findings with members of law enforcement or the Media. Murphy and his associates agreed to this stipulation. (7)
Simultaneously, authorities in Connecticut also re-opened the case, with the focus on Kenneth Littleton. The investigation was now multi-national. In 1992, authorities showed up on the doorstep of the ex-wife of Littleton at her home in Toronto, Canada. They then convinced Mary Baker to lure her ex-husband to a motel room in Boston, where he would be secretly recorded while she asked him questions scripted by the cops, most of which were lies, in order to entice Littleton to implicate himself in the murder of Martha Moxley. (7)
It is a brutal, often disturbing fact in matters of law enforcement that investigators, private or otherwise, often resort to methods of deception in order to trick "persons of interest" into making statements that will incriminate them. There are actually schools and Seminars nationwide in which law enforcement members and Private Eyes enroll in order to master the art and science of Deceptive Interrogation.
Ken Littleton had, in fact, become a suspect back in 1976, when he was coerced into taking more than one polygraph. According to the official report on these tests: "it was the opinion of the examiners that Kenneth Littleton was not truthful in answering the key questions." (8) Littleton's failure in these tests could be attributed to human error, or the possibility that he had in fact murdered Martha Moxley, or due to emotional health issues, including Littleton's oft-stated belief that authorities were trying to frame him, or he could have failed because while he was not involved in Martha's murder, he may have possessed information about the perpetrator and/or alleged Cover-up, and thus his deception in concealing such information was being picked up by the machine.
At any rate, Littleton now found himself in a motel room with his ex-wife, who repeatedly stated lies to him, saying he had previously, while intoxicated, implicated himself in the Moxley murder. The danger herein is that Littleton could have believed that he had indeed made such statements to her, and had "blacked out" such memories, both of his alleged admissions and his own alleged murder of Martha Moxley. Such tactics can produce positive results if the target is in fact guilty. But if the target is innocent of any wrongdoing, a "false memory" or "false confession" can be the result. The younger the subject was at the time of the incident, and the degree to which alcohol and/or drugs were involved, the more likely it is that a false memory or false confession can result. Littleton's reaction to his wife's claims were of bewilderment; he couldn't understand why she would make such statements when he was certain he did not murder Martha Moxley, and thus could not have, even while intoxicated, claimed to have done so. Littleton did not know that his statements were being recorded, although his responses worked in his favor. (9) What was done to Ken Littleton is even more horrific today, now that it is known that both Tommy and Michael Skakel would, during that same time, significantly change their stories. However, as was the case in the attempt to coerce Littleton into making a confession, investigators used similar tactics against the Skakel men. And these were by the very investigators hired by Rushton Skakel to clear his family from suspicion. In this case, Tommy and Michael were told that the State's top DNA specialist, Dr. Henry Lee, could potentially uncover DNA evidence relating to Martha's murder. At that point, both men came up with new versions of what happened on that long-ago night. Suspiciously, each story presented an explanation as to how their sperm might have found it's way upon Martha's murdered body. (9)
Tommy Skakel now claimed that on the night of the murder he did not write the paper on President Lincoln, which had not been assigned to him by his teachers in school, but instead had engaged in mutual masturbation with Martha. They did this, according to Tommy, not inside the warmth of his own large home with it's many rooms, which, in the absence of his father, would seem a logical choice, but outside in the yard of the Skakel property. Such private activity in a very public place would risk detection by anyone passing by, especially on "Mischief Night," when bands of teen-agers were invading the lawns of the neighborhood to commit their various pranks. (9) And, it should be noted, the wind chill that night varied between approximately 15 to 21 degrees. (10)
Michael Skakel's new story was this; on the night of Martha's murder, he had climbed a tree outside the Moxley home and had thrown pebbles at what he believed to be was Martha's bedroom window, hoping to entice her to come outside in the cold and engage in sexual activity with him. When Martha failed to appear, Michael decided to masturbate atop the tree, this despite what would have been an accelerated effect of the wind chill so high above the ground. In journalistic terms, these new revelations are what are called "bombshells!" And yet, these two admissions by Tommy and Michael Skakel did not make it into the Media. Instead, it was a story labeling Ken Littleton a serial killer that would be proffered to the Media. (9)
First, the story was offered to Len Levitt in 1992, but the "evidence" did not meet his professional standards. A year later, the story was published by the New York Daily News, naming 2 Sutton Associate Private Investigators as sources. The timing was very good - for the Skakel family. 3 months earlier, "A Season in Purgatory" had hit the bookstores, with the author in his nationwide book tour pointing the finger at the Skakel family in the murder of Martha Moxley. The Daily News story, entitled "New Eye on Teen Deaths," ran on July 7th of that year. The story focused on Ken Littleton, and attempted to make a case that not only was Martha Moxley murdered by Littleton, but that he was a suspected serial killer. Littleton was named as a suspect in the murders of several other young girls in 3 States, crimes which occurred when Littleton was residing nearby.
Despite this new twist in the Moxley case, the Daily News article did have some balance. Dorthy Moxley was quoted, complaining about the fact that Tommy Skakel would not agree to be questioned by the police in regards to his actions on the night that Martha was murdered. Dominick Dunne was also quoted, given that he was now the publicly perceived "expert" in this case. Dunne conceded that Littleton could have been involved, which reflected the plot line in his novel, in which a family visitor of the murderer participates in the Cover-up. But it's likely the Daily News would not have even published this story had the reporter known the 2 explosive secrets being withheld; the suspect new claims by Tommy and Michael Skakel as to their actions on the night of Martha's murder. Their revelations would continue to be kept secret; for the time being.
From the moment his book was published, Dominick Dunne began to receive tips from people around America, some important and some not. One of the most explosive was from a young man troubled by his conscience regarding what he knew about the Moxley case. He had been hired by Sutton Associates to comb through the thousands of pages of documents assembled by the investigators and condense such material into a short, concise narrative, which the patron of the project, Rushton Skakel, could quickly and easily comprehend. The young man was troubled by his synopsis; someone, he was convinced, had gotten away with murder. (11)
According to Len Levitt's reporting, just under $1 million of Rushton Skakel's money was spent on the "Sutton Report." While Rushton was surely pleased with the Daily News article pointing the finger of suspicion away from his family and instead towards the "serial killer" Ken Littleton, Rushton was reportedly displeased by the findings in regards to his sons Tommy and Michael. At that point, Skakel did what he had originally promised he would not; he fired Sutton Associates. (12) And the Private Investigators were bound by Contract Law from revealing what they had found on Tommy and Michael Skakel. However, appearing late in this scenario, by neglect, the young man who wrote this report had not been required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement. Thus, his conscience was his only guide. Consequently, he sought out the one man in the Media who was daring to blame a member of the Skakel family for the murder of Martha Moxley, albeit under the guise of a novel. Thus, Dominick Dunne acquired the Sutton Report.
Len Levitt also received the key evidence from the Sutton Report, from an anonymous source. Levitt used the information appropriately with members of law enforcement, and he - and they - managed to keep this secret during the on-going investigation. Levitt, the trained journalist, also managed to keep secret the identity of his source. (12) Dominick Dunne did not. (13) Still, Dunne was determined to use his copy of the report to what he considered would be the best means of bringing about a law enforcement conclusion.
However, Dunne's professional plate was full, as he was now assigned by his magazine to report on the "Trial of the Century," that of football superstar O. J. Simpson. The Verdict in that case was to be the same as in the Smith rape trial - Not Guilty - but the trial brought Dunne's attention to a key Witness in that case who would emerge as one of the most hated men in America.
IV. ENTER MARK FUHRMAN
On the night of the murders in Brentwood, Detective Mark Fuhrman reported that he found on the estate of O. J. Simpson a glove, which turned out to be a man's glove, and which tested for the blood of O. J. and the 2 murder victims. The "Bloody Glove" was a crucial piece of evidence implicating Simpson in the double homicide. When, at trial, Simpson was instructed to put the gloves on his hands - over a layer of latex gloves - Simpson gave what some cynically claimed was the performance of his acting career, mugging for all to see that the gloves appeared to be too small for his large hands. Prosecutors tried to rebound by claiming that various tests and freezings had caused the gloves to shrink. But lead Criminal Lawyer Johnnie Cochran had found the "Sound-bite" that would become his Mantra throughout the rest of the trial; "If it doesn't fit, you must Acquit!"
But that was only the half of it. Cochran wanted to claim, as he would in Closing Arguments, that the "Bloody Glove" had been "planted" by the cop who found it; Mark Fuhrman. Fuhrman had to be discredited for such a claim to seem plausible to members of the jury. Thus, during cross-examination by Criminal Lawyer F. Lee Bailey, Fuhrman was repeatedly asked if he was a racist, and if he had ever used the "N- word." Fuhrman repeatedly denied such allegations.
It was a trap. Private Investigator Pat McKenna, working for O. J.'s "Dream Team," located some tape recordings an author had made a decade earlier of interviews in which Fuhrman used the "N-word" repeatedly. Fuhrman was now facing a Perjury rap, as well as the end of his law enforcement career. His response was to hire Private Investigator Anthony Pellicano, despite the fact that Pellicano had worked for Simpson long before the double-homicides. (1)
Pellicano was a logical choice for Fuhrman given that at that time Pellicano was considered a self-made expert on the subject of the scrutiny of tape recordings. Pellicano first gained national attention in this regard back in the 1970s when he was hired by the Criminal Lawyer for Rose Mary Woods, the Secretary for President Richard Nixon. At issue was a tape, secretly recorded in the Oval Office, just three days after 5 employees of Nixon's Re-Election Campaign were arrested for breaking into the Office of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate building complex. The tape was of a conversation between Nixon and Chief Aide H. R. Haldeman, believed by investigators to be evidence of the initial stages of the Watergate Cover-up which would eventually destroy Nixon's Presidency. 18 1/2 minutes of this crucial tape had been erased. Nixon's White House had released an unintentionally hilarious photograph which showed how Rose Mary Woods, in an outstretched position that would have challenged even the most skilled of contortionists, may have accidentally erased that part of the tape. However, Pellicano concluded that the tape was not erased by Nixon nor his Secretary but due to a "faulty bridge rectifier in the bias oscillator circuit!" (2)
Pellicano would have better success in his next big legal case involving tape recordings. In 1982, auto maker John DeLorean was arrested for allegedly trafficking cocaine to subsidize his failing company. At trial, Criminal Lawyer Howard Weitzman put Pellicano on the stand to impeach the integrity of the tapes. The jury believed Pellicano and John DeLorean was Acquitted. While researching his book on this case, Journalist Hillel Levin was framed on drug charges, which were dropped once the authorities uncovered the set-up. (3) Levin's book, GRAND DELUSIONS: THE COSMIC CAREER OF JOHN DELOREAN, was published in 1984.
Years later found Howard Weitzman among the Criminal Lawyers defending O. J. Simpson, and their target for discredit being Anthony Pellicano. With a duplicitous history of playing both sides whenever it suited him, Pellicano would find no fault in the tapes upon which Fuhrman used the N-word, and his conclusion was less technical. The best Pellicano could come up with was that, during his cross-examination, Fuhrman suffered a "Mental Block," which erased from his memory the 12 hours of interviews, recorded on tape, in which Fuhrman repeatedly invoked the "N-Word." (4) Evidently, Pellicano was not only an expert on tape analysis but was now also an expert in human psychology. Subsequently, Fuhrman pleaded "No Contest" to Perjury committed on the Witness Stand in the "Trial of the Century" and those who believed Simpson had been framed now had a "Poster Boy" to represent every bad cop in America.
Dominick Dunne, however, had a different perspective on Fuhrman. Dunne had encountered Private Eye Patrick McKenna's and Celebrity DNA Expert Dr. Henry Lee's work earlier in the trial of Willie Smith, as well as criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz and Private Investigator John McNally in the Defense team of Claus von Bulow. All 4 men now worked on Simpson's Defense team. Dr. Lee testified for the Defense in the Simpson trial, best remembered for his "Something's wrong" sound-bite.
Prior to trial, O. J.'s team explored what today is called "The Serial-Killer Defense." The aim of this tactic is to suggest that a client accused of murder cannot be guilty because the "real killer" is a serial killer who has killed others in similar manners. Accordingly, Simpson's Criminal Lawyers filed a Motion in Court proceedings demanding of law enforcement all reports of "unsolved similar murders in California in the past year." Also, $500,000 in reward money was offered by Simpson's Defense Team for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the "real killer" of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. (5) Now, almost 20 years after the murders, that Reward money remains unclaimed.
Dominick Dunne also had to endure another far-fetched tactic during the trial, when the Defense suggested that the two victims were killed by the "Colombian Necktie" technique of a drug cartel whose intended victim was a friend of Nicole Brown Simpson. Sitting right next to Dunne at that time, and throughout the trial, were relatives of the two murder victims, notably Nicole's sister and Ron Goldman's father. When the Verdict came in - Not Guilty, Dunne was more convinced than ever that the old adage: "The Rich ARE Different" was true in American Society. The "Difference," Dunne would report in his magazine Vanity Fair was that the Rich could hire the most expensive Criminal Lawyers and Private Investigators that money could buy.
As Dominick Dunne had earlier in regards to his rage towards his daughter's murderer, Mark Fuhrman picked up a pen to vent his outrage over what he considered Injustice in the Simpson trial. He may have been hated throughout the country, but that didn't stop Americans from turning Fuhrman's "Murder in Brentwood" into a best-seller. But that success presented a new problem for Fuhrman's Literary Agent Lucianne Goldberg; what to do as a "sequel" of a murder case in which Justice had allegedly not prevailed. Thus, she called her friend Dunne, the acknowledged expert on such cases. (6)
It was a case of perfect timing. Dunne was looking for the best person to turn over a copy of the Sutton Report to, and despite his notoriety, Detective Fuhrman was immensely qualified. Thus equipped with the explosive report, Detective Mark Fuhrman traveled in September, 1997 to the Belle Haven site of the murder of young Martha. Once again, through either incompetence - or worse - the Greenwich Police Department would mess up - again! All the Greenwich authorities had to do was to offer a little bit of "professional courtesy" to one of their own, or, at the very least, ignore him completely. Instead, the local cops were openly hostile, following Fuhrman and threatening him with arrest.
The Media would milk this for all it was worth. Detective Mark Fuhrman had been made to look good in comparison by the Greenwich Police Department; he was now the "victim" of police misconduct. When asked by one cop why he was investigating the Moxley murder case, Fuhrman replied: "Oh, you know, money, power, murder." (7)
This played right into the mindset of those convinced a Cover-up had been engaged. Fuhrman's book took a story familiar to many in new directions; First, Fuhrman's interview of those cops first on the crime scene determined that 2 such cops saw the handle of the golf club at the crime scene. This was the key piece of evidence; the monogramed leather handle, revealing it belonged to the Skakel family, and the piece most likely to have a fingerprint on it. It was there and then it wasn't. Either the two cops were mistaken, or the key piece of evidence somehow became "lost." The second great surprise in Fuhrman's investigation was that, according to his analysis of the evidence, it was Michael Skakel, not Tommy, who murdered Martha Moxley. Fuhrman laid it all out in his new Best-Seller, released in May, 1998, and public opinion nationwide demanded that Michael be put on trial. (7)
However, due in part to his notoriety, Fuhrman's book somewhat overshadowed another book that hit the marketplace one month earlier, "Greentown," by local reporter Timothy Dumas. This book is an atmospheric, haunting,and deeply personal account of the Moxley tragedy, written by an insider of that community. Just one year younger than Martha Moxley, Dumas recounts the entire history of this isolated and neurotic enclave of the rich and powerful, who are nevertheless powerless against the ghosts and demons that haunt their every waking - and sleeping - moments. Told in a style that is both prose and poetry, Dumas' take on this story is revealed as Greek Tragedy, but that does not stop the writer from revealing his own exclusive - and explosive - revelation: On the very day that Martha Moxley was murdered, Tommy Skakel experienced a humiliating and devastating personal tragedy, the sort that is only amplified by the angst of being a teen-ager. 2 years earlier, Tommy's mother, whom he worshiped, had finally succumbed to a long and painful battle with cancer. Physically abandoned by his mother, Tommy was then emotionally abandoned by his father as Rushton sought refuge in the bottle. Tommy then drifted into social and academic failure. Despite this, there was one avenue at his exclusive private school to which Tommy sought achievement and acceptance; the High School Soccer Team, upon which Tommy Skakel honed his own natural athletic skills.
However, athleticism requires discipline, which Tommy lacked, and when he failed to show up for a game, with no legitimate excuse, the Coach of his Soccer Team kicked him off the squad. Suddenly deprived on the one thing that cloaked him with some sort of identity and purpose, young Tommy begged the Coach to re-consider. Tommy's Coach responded by evoking All-American Democracy: he would ask Tommy's team-mates if they wanted him re-instated. Their Verdict was unanimous; Tommy's team-mates did not want him back.
For a teen-ager, to be rebuked by an authority figure, such as a Sports Coach, is one thing; but to be rejected by your peers - male peers - is something much more devastating. And, according to several witnesses, just hours later, Tommy Skakel would be making sexual overtures to Martha Moxley, which she apparently was rejecting, while several of the teenagers were crammed into the Skakel family car. Seated on the other side of Martha during these flirtations was Tommy's brother Michael, who by all accounts suffered from severe Sibling rivalry which often led to violence between the two. (8)
"Greentown" would also be instrumental in this case by effecting the removal of the State Prosecutor, Donald Browne. It was Browne who rejected the local cops' authorizing of a Search Warrant seeking all the golf clubs in the Skakel home, as well as the clothing and other evidence that could point to the killer. It was Browne's top aid who pursued the theory that Kenneth Littleton was a serial killer, a theory dismissed by most serious investigators of this murder. Dumas' book wondered out loud if Browne was corrupt, or just merely incompetent? His Integrity questioned, Browne, citing a "Conflict of Interest," resigned his position. (9)
One other contemporary of Martha Moxley deserves mention in this on-going saga, and that is Tom Alessi, a friend of Martha's who maintained a "clearing house" of related information at the website MarthaMoxley.com. With the dawning of the Internet, Alessi made the case of Martha Moxley available - instantaneously - to those worldwide captivated by this story of innocence lost.
Finally, the authorities took action in this case. State Law in Connecticut allows the Appointment of a State Grand Jury which consists of a single Judge, who compiles evidence and testimony in a case, and whom can eventually issue an Indictment. Judge George Thim took his time - over a year - in conducting his investigation, and at long last a person was charged in January, 2000 for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley. And that person was Michael Skakel.
The new lead Prosecutor in this case, Jonathan Benedict, would later claim that Mark Fuhrman took credit for bringing about Skakel's Indictment that was undeserved on his part. Benedict claimed that every major piece of the investigation was discovered and acted on prior to Fuhrman's self-insertion into this case. (10) Perhaps one point on which all involved in this case can agree on is that, whatever one thinks of Dominick Dunne and Mark Fuhrman, they used their Celebrity - or, if you will, Notoriety - to focus national attention on a murder case that cried out for Justice.
V. THE CIRCUS TRIAL
It would take over 2 years before various legal issues could be decided that would allow the trial to take place. Michael was of course a Juvenile when the crime was committed, so his first Arraignment was in the local Juvenile Court. Eventually, a Judge would rule that Skakel would have to be tried as an adult because if he was convicted there was no Juvenile facility that could accept a man of his age. For those who believed in a Cover-up, this was an example of "Karma" getting it's revenge; had Michael been tried when he was 15 years old, a conviction, as a Juvenile, would have seen him back into Society in just a few years. Now, all these decades later, a Conviction as an Adult carried a potential penalty of Life in Prison.
Michael Skakel, it would soon turn out, had at least one thing in common with Mark Fuhrman; tape recordings that would come back to haunt him. Michael had responded to Fuhrman's book, which named him as the killer, by embarking on a project to write a book of his own. This was not uncharted territory for Michael; throughout his life, Michael on occasion, it would eventually be revealed, leaked information to the Media, usually anonymously. (1) With the national spotlight scrutinizing him, first with Dominick Dunne's novel and Mini-Series and then with Fuhrman's investigation, Michael decided that he needed to get his story out to the public. Thus, Michael began shopping around a book, tentatively entitled "Dead Man Talking," a play on the acclaimed Hollywood motion picture of 3 years earlier, "Dead Man Walking," which detailed the true story of a man on Death Row for the murders of 2 teenagers. It was statements Michael made in the notes and tapes assembled with his co-author to prepare the book proposal that interested the Prosecutors who would try him for murder, most notably Michael's statements that placed himself at the crime scene. The trial began in May, 2002, and, as in the Willie Smith trial, several relatives of Michael showed up to offer their moral support. Dominick Dunne would be in attendance, convinced that his new vocation had exposed him to a revolving door of Criminal Lawyers, sleazy Private Eyes, and forensic "experts" of dubious qualifications. Mark Fuhrman and Len Levitt were also there, each consoling Dorthy Moxley, and worried that the outcome of this trial would be the same as several other similar celebrated cases. Their fears were well-founded; there was no DNA evidence implicating Michael in this murder, no fingerprints on the pieces of the murder weapon, only the testimony of a few people who claimed that Michael had implicated himself in the murder many years earlier, and who only came forward many years later. Among these was a chauffeur for the Skakel family, as well as fellow "inmates" of Michael's during his incarceration at the Elan facility.
Michael's writings and statements about the Elan facility is nothing less than a horror story. Instead of offering "tough-love" interventions, the employees of Elan offered "tough-hate" altercations between the young people housed in the facility. Terms such as hazing, bullying, and even torture are applicable to the various sessions the staff of Elan thought to be therapeutic. Michael was branded before his peers as the murderer of Martha Moxley and the implied expectation of him was to redeem himself by confessing to her murder. But, with two notable exceptions, residents of Elan would claim that Michael told the same consistent story; that he had no recollection of what happened on the night of the murder.
In regards to the "Ear-Witnesses" who claimed that Michael implicated himself in the murder in conversations with them, for Michael to have no memory of that night on one day, and then on another day remember that night and his role in the murder, and then on another day "forget" that he had "remembered," is troubling. One "Ear-Witness" against Michael was a heroin addict named Gregory Coleman. Many years after the fact Coleman suddenly alleged that Michael had confessed to Maltha's murder and boasted that he expected to get away with it. Coleman died of a heroin overdose shortly before the trial began. However, Prosecutors asked the Judge to allow into evidence Coleman's prior Testimony before the Grand Jury, statements Coleman made Under Oath while strung out, by his own admission, on heroin. Thus, the jurors heard Coleman's allegations without the opportunity to witness Michael's Criminal Lawyer's attempt to destroy his credibility under Cross-Examination in person in Court. Thus, it was Gregory Coleman who became the literal "Dead Man Talking" in this case. That left just one real-live person from the Elan facility to testify as to their allegation that Michael admitted killing Martha Moxley.
Despite the "Hear-say" evidence of 2 people from Michael's remote past, the timeline for the murder was on Michael's side; the acoustical evidence, heard by many in the neighborhood, which indicated that something unusual happened outside the Skakel and Moxley homes around 10 p.m. was a strong indication, coupled with the last known sighting of Martha, that that was when the murder occurred. Michael at that time was miles away at Jimmy Terrien's house. Or was he? One person on the scene there that night insisted that Michael had stayed behind when the others went to Terrien's home. Still, Michael could have killed Martha around midnight, the second, alternative timeline for the murder. But that timeline was problematic; if Martha was killed around Midnight, where had she been for the nearly 2 hours after she was last seen next door to her home in the company of Tommy Skakel? Also, Michael's co-ordination around Midnight was impaired by his substantial consumption of drugs and alcohol, a consequence of such can be a "blackout" of memory. By no means an athlete at that young age, some doubt that Michael's impaired co-ordination and his skinny, under-developed body would have allowed him to attack a human with such precision and veracity that the murder weapon, a golf club, engineered for strength, would shatter into 4 pieces.
Ken Littleton was the key Prosecution Witness for two reasons; first, Littleton's statements to the police, which he had never changed, was that he placed Tommy inside the Skakel home around 10 p.m., and that there was nothing unusual about his manner or appearance. Littleton's statement tended to exculpate both Tommy and himself. Secondly, Prosecutors knew that the Defense might present the claim that Littleton was a serial killer and that it was he who killed Martha Moxley, among others. That is exactly what lead Criminal Lawyer Mickey Sherman would do, calling Jack Solomon of the Connecticut State Police Department, who presented his claim that Littleton was a serial killer. Celebrity DNA expert Dr. Henry Lee also tried to implicate Littleton in the murder, testifying in regards to a hair sample found at the crime scene that he claimed was "similar" to Littleton's.
By the time the case was given to the Jury, Dorthy Moxley had emerged as an American Icon, a symbol of patience and perseverance, and the undying love a parent holds for their child. When the Verdict came in - Guilty! - the tears many American shed were those of joy for Mrs. Moxley. And, for those who believed in the Cover-up, there was a certain sense that, at least in this case, Justice had finally prevailed. The Judge sentenced Michael Skakel to 20 years to Life.
And so, many thought this story was at long last over. But it was not. Criminal Lawyers for Michael Skakel would spend the next decade filing various Appeals, most of which would not succeed. One point was that the case should have been tried in Juvenile Court, and even some of Michael's harshest critics felt that argument held some merit. Then, a year later, Criminal Lawyers for Skakel came up with a new point of Appeal; according to a Skakel Private Investigator, a relative of basketball star Kobe Bryant was now claiming that 2 friends of his, both non-Caucasian, at the time admitted to murdering Martha with a golf club they just happened to find lying around, this while the 2 had improbably slipped past the Security checkpoint and managed to sneak into Belle Haven on the night of the murder. Reports by members of Belle Haven's private police force have noted that on that particular night, they were out in force given that by tradition pranks by teenagers occurred against the residents and their property inside Belle Haven. There were very few young men of color who either lived or visited there during that time and thus it would be difficult for two such kids to roam around unobserved. Not one local resident nor the private cops reported seeing such young men. These allegations were dismissed by the Appeals Court in 2007, with the Judge ruling: "The testimony of Bryant is absent any genuine corroboration. It lacks credibility and therefore would not produce a different result in a new trial!" (2)
Presumably, Kenneth Littleton was back to being a suspected serial killer. In response to an April, 2013 Court development, Littleton's lawyer responded in the Media, stating that there was no credible evidence that Littleton murdered Martha Moxley - or was a serial killer, and that those who had claimed so had essentially "destroyed his life!" (3)
However, a year prior, retired FBI Agent James Murphy had phoned Dorthy Moxley, asking to meet her so that he could personally inform her of a new development in the case. Mrs. Moxley agreed, meeting with Agent Murphy on Valentine's Day at a venue in Manhattan. Roses were not what Agent Murphy had to offer. Instead, he explained to Mrs. Moxley and her son John he was working for free for Michael's Appeal because he was convinced Michael was innocent. Murphy revealed that in the early stages of the Sutton Associates' investigation in 1993, Tommy Skakel, a grown man at that time, began to cry during an interrogation about the night that Martha was murdered. His Criminal Lawyer then halted the session, leading Agent Murphy to believe that Tommy was on the verge of confessing to the murder of Martha Moxley. Mrs. Moxley and her son were understandably very upset by Agent Murphy's admission. John Moxley made a particularly impassioned statement to the Parole Board considering Michael's early release in which he articulated his contempt for Michael and his perceived air of entitlement. (4)
Murphy's belief back in 1993 did not prompt him to testify on Michael's behalf at his trial, as did the State Investigator who believed Ken Littleton was a serial killer. Nor did Murphy offer a follow-up story to the New York Daily News in regards to their story in the Summer of 1993 in which Murphy named Littleton a serial killer.
Yet another bombshell was about to drop in this case. In October, 2013, an Appeals Court Judge, Thomas Bishop, released a Ruling that found that Michael Skakel's Criminal Lawyer Mickey Sherman had not adequately represented him during his trial. Specifically, the Judge ruled that Sherman had, for whatever reasons, failed to present evidence to the jury that suggested Michael's brother Tommy could have been the murderer of Martha Moxley. Thus, the Judge Overturned Michael Skakel's Conviction and ordered a new trial. (5)
Each year, thousands of young men, many of whom are Black or Latino, are convicted, some rightly, some wrongfully, throughout America, on various crimes, their Fates in the hands of Public Defenders, who for the most part lack the experience and resources of Criminal Lawyers and their Private Investigators that are only available to the rich and famous. Rarely do such men receive a new trial by an Appeals Judge based upon the doctrine of Inadequate Representation. For some followers of the Martha Moxley murder who believe that the American Judicial system favors the rich, the Reversal of Michael Skakel's conviction was seen as further such evidence.
Prosecutors announced they would Appeal the Reversal and were prepared to take the case back to trial if that Appeal failed. If this case does go back to trial, what this means is that Michael Skakel's new Criminal Lawyer is practically mandated by Judge Bishop's ruling to attempt to implicate Tommy Skakel as Martha's killer. This would, once again, make Ken Littleton a key Prosecution Witness, because his testimony establishes an alibi for Tommy on the night of the murder. And that would make Ken Littleton even more of a target for attack by the new Criminal Lawyers for Michael Skakel. If these Criminal Lawyers are to claim that Tommy Skakel murdered Martha, and Littleton is his alibi, then they will almost certainly have to allege that Ken Littleton was also somehow involved in Martha's murder.
And what sort of man would do such a thing? Why, a serial killer, of course.
VI. THE "SERIAL KILLER DEFENSE"
Ken Littleton has always maintained that he did not kill Martha Moxley, and that there has been a concerted effort to frame him as a serial killer. Some might categorically dismiss his claim as being too implausible to be true. However, in recent years there have been several cases of men falsely accused of being a serial killer. A common thread in these cases, indeed, throughout this entire narrative, is the actions of Private Investigators and/or Criminal Lawyers working on behalf of clients accused of murder. Herein are some examples:
A. The Case of John Lambert
John Lambert was a young gay man from Philadelphia who, in the 1990s was falsely accused of being a serial killer who preyed on young women. Lambert's accusers were the Criminal Lawyers and Private Investigators for two men indicted in the brutal beating murder of a young woman, Kimberly Ernest. This story began on a cold November day in 1995, when a man walking his dog found the body of a 26 year old woman on a sidewalk in one of Philadelphia's best neighborhoods. The murder of what became known as the "Center City Jogger" stunned Philadelphia, in particular those who knew Kimberly well. The young paralegal was an accomplished athlete who was outspoken in her opposition to drugs and by all accounts had a bright future ahead of her. Within days of Kimberly's murder, a career criminal named Herbert Haak III, back in prison on a parole violation, confided to his counselor that his associate Richie Wise had killed Kimberly. Haak's story would change several times over each retelling; in some versions he was an accomplice; in others, he played no role at all. The big break in the case came just weeks later, when Haak's own step-father went to the authorities to claim that Haak had confessed to him his role in this sensational murder.
Just 3 days before Kimberly's murder, Haak and Wise threatened to kill a young man in a gay bashing assault in the same neighborhood where Kimberly would later be killed. Wise, who sports White Supremacist tattoos, and Haak chased down their victim that night, targeted because of his slight build, and beat him repeatedly with a blunt object. Haak would later claim that he was just there as an observer, while Wise carried out the assault. Thus, when Philadelphia Police Department Detective Tom Augustine got the opportunity to interrogate Haak, he saw an opportunity he had seen many times before, where a partner in crime tries to blame everything on his accomplice. The cops would quickly obtain two signed confessions to the murder of Kimberly Ernest.
The arrests of the two men for the murder of Kimberly Ernest sent sighs of relief throughout the communities of Philadelphia, but that ease would not last long. The day after Richie Wise was arrested, his father got word that a former employee of his, Billy Liberatore, had a sensational story to tell him. Liberatore was a crack cocaine addict who paid for his habit through his work as a male prostitute. Although Liberatore would change his story significantly with each telling, in essence he claimed that on the night of Kimberly's murder, his roommate, John Lambert, while high on crack, left their apartment and when he returned had blood on his clothes, explaining it away by saying that he had just killed a young woman. Wise's father, desperate to prove his son's innocence, championed Liberatore's claims.
Fred Ambrose, Wise's attorney, then sprang into action, utilizing several Private Investigators, including Stephen Stouffer, who claims to have worked with the FBI, and William Acosta, a former member of the New York City Police Department who has worked as an FBI Informant. By the time the trial started in February of 1997, the attorneys for Haak and Wise and their Private Detectives had quite a sensational story to hawk to the Media, the Philadelphia community, and, ultimately, the jury. Haak and Wise now claimed that Detective Augustine had beaten them until they agreed to sign blank pieces of paper, which the cops supposedly later filled in with their respective confessions. Although mug shots taken of the two criminals after the alleged beatings showed no signs of their having been brutalized, the Judge in the murder case allowed the defendants to recant their signed confessions.
Then Detective Augustine was hit with another bombshell; Haak's stepfather now claimed that he made up most of what he had told the Detective about his stepson's confession. Yet another bombshell awaited Detective Augustine; on the day the trial started he was ambushed on the steps outside the Courthouse by reporters who had been tipped off as to a lawsuit that had just been filed by a New Jersey lawyer, Sam Malit, who represented three young men who now claimed that they had been beaten a few months earlier in an alleged altercation with Detective Augustine. The stunned Detective categorically denied the allegations but knew his credibility had been shot, and like the rest of Philadelphia, expected the Jury Verdict that would later come down in March of 1997 in the murder trial of Wise and Haak; Not Guilty. A month later, Malit filed a $75 million lawsuit alleging that Detective Augustine had also violated Richie Wise's civil rights.
It was only a matter of time before Detective Augustine learned the FBI, the U. S. Attorney's office, and his own Philadelphia Police Department were investigating him. Yet the most staggering charges against Augustine were yet to come; Private Investigators for Wise began circulating a photograph which they claimed showed Detective Augustine attending the funeral of alleged Mafia figure Anthony Turra. Augustine was said to be "Mobbed-up" and that he was working with members of the Mafia as well as crooked members of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Philadelphia Police Department, City Hall, and the District Attorney's office to cover-up the facts as to the 'real killer' of Kimberly Ernest. That person was said to be John Lambert, the son of a politically connected Philadelphia family.
What's more, investigators for Wise began spreading their claim that they had conclusive evidence that Lambert was in fact a serial killer responsible for the murders of at least six women in the Philadelphia area, including Kimberly Ernest. Included in this smear campaign were allegations that the victim, Ms. Ernest, was involved with Lambert in the abuse of drugs. The family and friends of Kimberly vehemently denied Ms. Ernest ever used drugs. Said Kimberly's mother Dorothy: "It hurts me inside when someone says that about her. I know that's not true. It makes me want to cry. They beat her to death. What more do they want?"
Mrs. Ernest's anguished plea was given to Howard Altman, an award-winning reporter for Philadelphia City Paper, a publication that has been on the cutting-edge of investigative journalism in the city of Brotherly Love. In 1999 Altman published a three-part series on his investigation into the various allegations in this case. Among Altman's findings:
***The photograph of the funeral of Turra depicted a man named Anthony Garafalo, NOT Detective Augustine, as the Private Investigators were claiming.
***DNA evidence showed no link in the 6 murders the private investigators were trying to pin on a single serial killer.
***Several people, including a respected reporter and the mother of Lambert had complained about the harassment and intimidation they claimed to have received from the Private Investigators working for the Wise Defense team.
While investigators for Wise and Haak repeatedly claimed to have information from various "un-named sources," Altman could only find one Private Investigator, William Acosta, willing to go on the record as to his belief of the serial killer theory, although he would not specifically accuse John Lambert. Altman reported thus:
" After a two-day visit to Philadelphia, Acosta told Stouffer that the Ernest killing "was that of a serial killer, not the work of two people, because there are similarities in the cases that have been popping up around Philadelphia and the surrounding area" since Ernest was killed. "He selects at random women fitting almost the same characteristics as this female," claims Acosta. To bolster his argument, he says that whoever killed Ernest was sending a message that he hates authority by dumping her body off near a law office."
In 1999, John Lambert died of a drug overdose. His DNA was then found to have no link to the murder of Kimberly Ernest nor any of the other murders he was accused of committing. Fred Ambrose and lawyer Sam Malat had by then filed a $70 million lawsuit, claiming Wise and Haak had been falsely accused of the murder of Kimberly Ernest. The parents of John Lambert then filed a lawsuit against lawyer Fred Ambrose, his Private Investigator Stephen Stouffer, lawyer Sam Malat, and Richie Wise's father Len, alleging they participated in a smear campaign against their son.
On April 16, 2001, Fred Ambrose disappeared, leaving behind a Power of Attorney letter on behalf of his co-Defendant in the Lambert lawsuit, Sam Malat. It soon became apparent that the lawyer had embezzled many thousands of dollars from multiple clients upon whose behalf he had filed lawsuits by secretly accepting settlements on their behalf and then forging their signatures on the checks, which he then cashed. Ambrose was eventually found and arrested by the FBI when found hiding out in California in December, 2004. The parents of John Lambert were awarded a $40 million settlement in their lawsuit against the 4 men who publicly and falsely accused their son of being a serial killer. Detective Tom Augustine was eventually cleared of all of the allegations he was accused of. (1)
B. The Case of Jeffrey Hornoff
In the late 1990s, Private Investigators William Acosta and Boris de Korczak looked into the case of Jeffrey Hornoff, a Rhode Island Police Officer convicted in 1996 of the strangling death of a young woman several years earlier. Embracing the "Serial Killer Defense," the two compiled evidence presented in an Appeal which claimed Hornoff could not have committed the crime, because the murder in question was committed by a local serial killer who had already killed 4 people. The Judge ruled against this theory as lacking in supportive evidence. The Judge was right - there was no serial killer involved in this case - but, as it would later turn out, Hornoff was innocent. The perpetrator of the crime came forward, confessed to a crime he could prove he had in fact committed, and Hornoff was set free.
William Acosta was a central figure in the case of Thomas R. Stevens, arrested in 1993 for Murder Solicitation after Acosta, an FBI Informant wearing a wire and claiming to be a Mafia hitman, enticed Stevens to hire him to murder a political rival in New York City. Privately, Stevens was also accused by another FBI Informant of being an alleged serial killer, among other charges. The case was thrown out of Federal Court by the Judge, citing evidence Stevens had been framed. That story is one of three such cases detailed in Part One of this series.
C. The Case of Scott Peterson
Scott Peterson was a fertilizer salesman who murdered his wife Laci and unborn child during Christmas, 2002. Peterson's Criminal Lawyer was Mark Geragos, whose clients have included Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder. Geragos' Private Investigator was Bill Pavelic, a retired L.A. P. D. Detective who has also worked for accused murderers O. J. Simpson and Robert Blake. Pavelic also worked for Michael Jackson and Andrew Luster, a cosmetics-industry heir convicted of poisoning young women with a drug and then raping them once they had passed out.
In the Scott Peterson case, what Geragos and Pavelic came up with was a new twist on the "Serial Killer Defense;" in this case, it was not one serial killer but a group of them, all part of a "Satanic Cult," who were the "real killers" of Staci and her child. The Cult allegations were ridiculed and Scott Peterson was convicted and sentenced to the Death Penalty. (2)
D. The "Last-Call Killer"
For 4 decades, a serial killer named Richard Rogers, Jr. preyed on men along the Eastern Seaboard. Rogers was dubbed the "Last-Call Killer" because he would befriend men in a bar and leave with them at closing time. Their dismembered body parts would later be found in several States.
Rogers was first captured in 1973, when he murdered a 22-year-old University of Maine student. Rogers told the Jury that he walked into his home and found the young man burglarizing him, who then charged him with a hammer in his hand. Rogers said he fought back and in the ensuing struggle, the man was killed, upon which Rogers dumped the body in a nearby park. The jury bought it and Acquitted Rogers of murder.
Rogers was next captured on Staten Island, New York, in 1988. By this time Rogers was a Male Nurse guarding over sleeping children at night in the Pediatric Ward of Mt. Sinai Hospital during the "Graveyard Shift." As horrific as the scenario appears, there is no evidence that Rogers ever harmed the children on his Watch. However, Rogers did commit crimes within Mt. Sinai, stealing drugs which he would surreptitiously slip into the drinks of his victims. Feeling ill under the effects of the drugs, the victim would seek Rogers' assistance, and he would escort them to his home.
A Manhattan resident was the victim of this ruse in July of that year. At some point, the man passed out, and when he came to, he was tied to Rogers' bed while Rogers was pummeling him with his fists. Somehow, the man was able to break free and Rogers was arrested - again! Realizing the jury pool on Conservative Staten Island would be hostile towards him, Rogers this time around demanded a "Bench Trial," in which the Judge also serves as the Jury. Rogers claimed that his victim enlisted him to tie him up and beat him as part of a kinky, S & M sex ritual. The Judge bought it, Acquitted Rogers, and ordered his case "Sealed." Rogers was free to kill yet again.
Rogers next close call came in August, 1993, when he picked up a man, Michael Sakara, in a Manhattan bar, took him home, and dismembered him. However, this time around 2 witnesses gave a description to an NYPD Composite Sketch Artist that would turn out to be very accurate. However, a third "Witness" came forward and gave the cops a completely different description, and that composite drawing resulted in a man being falsely investigated as a serial killer for 7 long years. After that suspect was eliminated, a second mistaken identity case of a man in New Jersey led to his targeting, with one Media report claiming his arrest was imminent. That man also was falsely accused, so the case dragged on for 1 more year. Finally, the New Jersey State Police solved the crimes using fingerprints obtained from Rogers' first arrest in 1973. This story is told in detail in Part One of this series.
E. The Case of Sammy Gravano
This case is the "Grand-Daddy" of all such efforts by Criminal Lawyers and Private Investigators to invoke the "Serial Killer Defense" on behalf of a client accused of murder. In this case, Gambino Godfather John Gotti, who, after being Acquitted in 3 previous Trials, was finally convicted in his 4th due to the testimony of turncoat Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. The task for Gotti's team post-conviction was to uncover evidence that Gravano had committed more than the 19 murders he confessed to when he agreed to be a co-operating witness. If the Private Eyes had come up with compelling evidence linking Gravano to just one undisclosed murder, such evidence of Perjury on Gravano's part could have been used to get Gotti's conviction overturned.
Their efforts were first publicized in a New York Daily News report in January, 1996. The article referred to an NYPD Sketch Artist composite drawing of a young man who was a suspect in the murder of a young man on Staten Island way back in the mid-1970s. That image was purported to be a young Sammy Gravano, who was also accused of participation in yet a second murder during that time period. (3) Private Investigator John McNally would not only uncover evidence linking Gravano to other murders, but evidence that Gravano and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso trafficked substantial amounts of drugs over the years, despite Gravano's denial during Gotti's trial. Gaspipe himself admitted this to the Feds after his arrest in 1993, confessing to over 30 murders, including that of one young man, killed in front of his family on Christmas Day, in a case of mistaken identity. Casso wanted to supplant Sammy Gravano as the pre-imminent turncoat in American Mafia history. Among his sensational claims were that he had 2 corrupt cops on his payroll - Lou Eppolito, Sr. and Stephen Caracappa, now known in crime infamy as the "Mafia Cops." But Casso's claims that both he and Gravano trafficked drugs threatened several prosecutions upon which Gravano's testimony had secured convictions, notably that of Gotti. Prosecutors also wanted to use Gravano in an upcoming trial of "Odd-Father" Vinnie "Chin" Gigante, the Godfather of the Genovese Mafia Family who stumbled around Little Italy in his bathrobe. (4)
The Feds had to discredit and get rid of Gaspipe Casso, and they had just the "rat" to turn "rat" on another "rat;" Colombo Family murderer and drug dealer "Big Sal" Miciotta. Big Sal had first been recruited, under very mysterious circumstances, by the FBI as an Informant back in 1993. At that time, a Mob War was winding down between 2 rival factions of the Colombo Family that killed over a dozen people. The war was led by a serial killer named Greg Scarpa, Sr. who would boast that he stopped counting the number of his murder victims after reaching the 50 mark. (5) Unbeknownst to but a select few, Scarpa had been protected by the FBI in his life of crime since secretly becoming an FBI Informant in the early 1960s. (6) That scandal was about to explode nationwide, but before it did, Sal Miciotta sought to blame a Decorated NYPD Detective, Joe Simone, for the many leaks of confidential information from the Organized Crime Task Force to members of the Colombo Family. Simone's story of how he was framed is detailed in Part One of this series.
Miciotta's testimony against Simone, who was Acquitted, and others in subsequent "Mob-War" trials, also resulted in Acquittals, so the Feds, claiming Miciotta had repeatedly told lies, dumped Miciotta from the Witness Protection Program. (7) However, while incarcerated with Gaspipe Casso, Miciotta developed evidence that Casso was bribing Guards to smuggle contraband, including heroin, into the prison. Such testimony by Miciotta earned him a second - "get-out-of-jail-free card," and Miciotta, despite 4 murders, quietly slipped onto the streets of North America, while Casso was buried within "Supermax," the country's most secure Federal prison. (8)
Meanwhile, the scandal of Greg Scarpa continued to emerge, as did that of another murderer and drug dealer, Whitey Bulger, who was also protected most of his adult life due to his work as an FBI Informant. The main difference between the 2 was that Scarpa was hired by the FBI during the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, whereas Bulger was hired after Hoover's death. Bulger would not be prosecuted for crimes including the murders of 19 people, including 2 young women, bribing members of law enforcement, trafficking drugs, extortion, and other crimes, until an FBI Agent tipped him off he was about to be arrested in 1994 by Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Bulger then went on the lam for 16 years. Once captured, it would be revealed that among the crimes Bulger committed was the 1975 firebombing of the birthplace of President Kennedy in Boston. Only Whitey Bulger could get away with such a crime, in such a town. (9)
Meanwhile, Gaspipe Casso's original claims were being slowly corroborated. In 2000, Sammy Gravano, his wife, and young son and daughter were arrested as part of a drug trafficking ring operating in 4 States and headquartered in Arizona, where the Feds had quietly re-located Gravano. By that time, John Gotti had already died in prison, but there were several other men convicted on Gravano's testimony who potentially could get a new trial if it was revealed that Gravano lied to the Feds as to the extent of his crimes. Interestingly, even though it was Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration who brought about Sammy Gravano's arrest on drug trafficking charges, it was the FBI who hired Anthony Pellicano to examine the tapes that would be used against him in his trial. (10)
Gravano's arrest prompted investigators in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office to take a second look at Casso's claims about the "Mafia Cops," and eventually the two would be charged with drug trafficking and several murders. However, to keep Anthony Casso out of this trial, the case was" taken over," some would say "stolen," by the Feds, who successfully obtained convictions against the 2 cops.
Then came a new twist in the "Serial Killer Defense" regarding Sammy Gravano; Richard Kuklinsky, himself one of America's most prolific serial killers, claimed that Gravano had hired him to murder a New York City Police Officer, Peter Calabro. An edict within the American Mafia, long standing, has been the prohibition of harming a journalist nor a member of law enforcement, which the ruling Godfathers had decreed was bad publicity that could only result in more scrutiny against them. Thus, Kuklinsky claimed, Gravano farmed out the Contract to him. (11)
Gravano was arrested - again - charged with a 20th murder he had conveniently forgotten to reveal to the Feds. Lawyers for Orazio Stantini and Robert Bisaccia, both of whom had been convicted by Gravano's testimony, immediately filed Motions for a new trial. (12) The emerging theory was that if Gravano had revealed his role in the alleged murder of a police officer, there would have been an enormous backlash in the law enforcement community to solicit the Judge in Gravano's original sentencing to NOT give Gravano just 5 years in prison. However, Richard Kuklinsky - known as "The Iceman" for his practice of freezing some of his victims to disguise the time and method of death, would die in prison before the murder case against Gravano could go to trial. Today, Sammy Gravano is housed in Supermax, along with Gaspipe Casso. Among the legal legacy of Gravano's case is the popularization of the "Serial Killer Defense."
VII. THE BACKLASH AGAINST PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS
If the reader is horrified by the practices of Criminal Lawyers and their Private Investigators presented in this narrative, then there is good news; in recent years, both the Media and members of law enforcement have taken the Private Investigative industry to task. Many such criminals have been exposed for the crimes they have committed, and some, at long last, have gone to jail.
One of the first actions taken was by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in 1999. The Bureau had discovered, in co-operation with the Los Angeles Police Department, that a Colorado Private Investigator, James Rapp, a convicted felon, had provided information to a Los Angeles Private Eye that resulted in confidential information regarding the private residences of Detectives involved in pursuing members of organized crime winding up in the possession of a suspected organized crime figure. Information obtained by Rapp also made it's way to the national tabloids Globe Magazine and the National Enquirer. After a sting operation was run in Colorado, Rapp was slapped with a fine and prison sentence. Rapp later helped members of Congress in legislation to curb such practices. (1)
A similar case of information peddling occurred in 2001, when the Feds arrested Las Vegas Private Investigator Michael Levin, a retired FBI Agent, outside his home on Long Island, New York. Levin began cooperating immediately and told the Feds he specialized in selling secret law-enforcement information to three types of clients; Associates of the American Mafia, white-collar fraud scam artists, and ethnic organized crime syndicates involved in the smuggling of humans into the United States. Also arrested was New York businessman Robert Potter, who would later plead guilty to conspiracy to receive stolen FBI records, as did his lawyer, Herbert Jacobi. (2,3)
Sam Rovetuso was a Chicago-area Private Investigator who was convicted for conspiring to murder a Witness in a Federal case involving a Contract scam between the City of Chicago and a private firm. Once convicted, the FBI found use for such a criminal and signed Rovetuso up as an FBI Informant. In 1995, after spending just 2 years in prison for murder conspiracy and other charges, Rovetuso resumed his career as a Private Investigator, secretly tape-recording for the Feds public officials in Cicero, Illinois, Anthony Pellicano's home town, involved in a kickback and bribery scheme. Although Rovetuso died in 1999, his tapes resulted in the conviction of Cicero's former Police Chief and two associates in 2002. (4)
More recently, in 2011, New York City Private Investigator Jerry Ramrattan was convicted for raping his girlfriend, and then framing her for a series of armed robberies, for which she was arrested and jailed, although later exonerated. (5) Earlier this year, Washington State Private Investigator Stephanie L. Barnes was sentenced to jail for Witness Tampering in a kidnaping case. (6) Also this year, a Criminal Lawyer and her Private Investigator in Pennsylvania have been charged with numerous crimes, including Witness Tampering on behalf of their client, a suspected serial killer in whose backyard the remains of at least 12 humans have been found.
While that case is still unfolding, the Private Investigator who has emerged as the "Poster Boy" for criminal behavior is Anthony Pellicano. Like Greg Scarpa and Whitey Bulger, Pellicano's work as an Employee of the FBI could only protect him to a certain limit, and when he crossed that limit, he sowed the seeds of his own destruction. In this case, it was Pellicano's contempt for the Journalism Profession that would be his undoing. In 2002, Pellicano directed his subordinate Alexander Proctor to commit crimes against Anita Busch, a Los Angeles Times reporter who had targeted one of Pellicano's clients. Proctor was instructed to blow up Busch's car, but Proctor believed the close proximity of the car to Busch's residence would likely set that building on fire. Thus, Proctor instead put an apparent bullet hole in the windshield of the reporter's car, along with a dead fish wrapped in newspaper, a standard American Mafia symbol, with the attached written admonition: "Stop!" The computer of Anita Busch was also hacked and destroyed. Pellicano and Proctor would later plead "No Contest" in State Court to these charges. (7)
This was not the first time that Pellicano was a suspect in a crime committed against a journalist. In 1990, reporter Rod Lurie claimed that while he was investigating a story on the National Enquirer, to whom Pellicano leaked numerous stories about celebrities, including some of his own clients, he was struck while riding his bike by an automobile in a hit-and-run that could easily have killed him. That case was never solved. However, the plot against journalist Anita Busch was one that the local authorities could not ignore. Thus, in 2002, the Feds raided Pellicano's Sunset Boulevard office. Inside Pellicano's safe the FBI found grenades and C-4 plastic explosives. A small amount of C-4 can destroy an automobile, a jet airliner, or a yacht. Also discovered were literally thousands of illegally recorded conversations of both Pellicano's friends and foes alike. The Feds would eventually charge Pellicano, along with two crooked cops, among others, with taking part in a 'racketeering enterprise' that illegally wiretapped numerous individuals, including Pellicano's own client Sylvester Stallone and more than one news reporter. (8) Pellicano was convicted on most of the 110 Counts in his Federal trial and received a Federal prison sentence of 15 years. (9)
During the 1990s and beyond, while Local and Federal authorities were at long last bringing criminal charges against Private Investigators, members of the Media also began to scrutinize an Industry that had for many decades operated under the journalistic radar. One of the first, and most influential such reports by an investigative reporter was a Village Voice Feature by Bill Bastone entitled "The Fixer." The target of Bastone's research was an FBI Informant named Marty Bergman, who was a close associate of another FBI Informant, William Acosta, referenced earlier in this narrative.
Bastone's Feature explored Bergman's unusual career in which he operated as a reporter, Private Investigator, and undercover operative on behalf of rich and famous clients, often targeting equally rich and famous enemies. Bergman courted politicians, hosting fund-raisers at his home for such Ideologically-diverse public figures as Democrat Jesse Jackson and Republican Rudolph Giuliani. Bergman was adept at planting stories in the Media in favor of his friends or in disfavor of his enemies, former U. S. Senator Al D'Amato being just one example. A mis-adventure into the Tawana Brawley affair was a classic foray for Bergman. As an FBI Informant, Bergman succeeded where no one else could, by facilitating the only Media interview ever with FBI Informant Greg Scarpa, the notorious Colombo Mafia Family serial killer.
Bastone's expose delved into great detail Bergman's troubling machinations against the key Prosecution Witness against Wrestling Entertainment industry titan Vincent McMahon, who was tried but Acquitted on Federal drug trafficking charges in the 1990s. Bergman was not publicly charged with Witness Tampering in that case, but many years earlier was put on trial on public corruption charges involving a public works project on Long Island. Bergman was Acquitted of those charges, but among the evidence in that case was a secretly-recorded conversation between himself and one of the public figures in the case, who was wearing a wire. On the tape, Bergman summed up what he perceived to be his best assets; "You know," he bragged, " I know how to destroy people!" (10)
Related Features by this author:
FRAMED! Part One
Secrets of the Private Eyes
I. A Murder in Greenwich
II. A "Cover-up?"
III. Enter Dominick Dunne
IV. Enter Mark Fuhrman
V. The Circus Trial
VI. The "Serial Killer Defense"
VII. The Backlash Against Private Investigators
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