Thursday, January 23, 2003

Atlantic Monthly: I had to start out this month with Robert Kennedy Jr.'s defense of Michael Skakel, if only because it was a good lurid story. (Ron Rosenbaum's "Sex at Yale" is hilarious, but I was willing to wait for that one.) I don't put much stock in Kennedys, nor in supposed exculpations by relatives of the convicted, but Kennedy is convincing. I came away believing that Skakel is innocent, whereas I'd been at best agnostic before. Kennedy doesn't have a Columbo moment, appearing out of the blue with a fact or a bit of logic that closes the case. Rather, like a good attorney, he builds reasonable doubt bit by bit. To wit: Skakel has a bizarre but fairly strong alibi; the story that he admitted to the murder turns out to be a little more complicated than the press made it sound; there are other, more plausible suspects; Dominick Dunne and Mark Fuhrman, credited with getting the case reopened, are motivated by things other than justice. And so on.

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