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Kerry Kennedy, Do the Right Thing

September 24, 2018

Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars — perhaps millions — to post bail for an estimated 300 to 500 low-income women and 16- and 17-year-olds awaiting trial in city jails, maybe the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights charity should consider helping Al Hasbrouck and Burton Tinsley. The two are low-income men, originally from the Bronx, one black, the other of mixed race, who were falsely accused by RFK’s son and namesake, Robert Kennedy Jr., of killing 15-year-old Martha Moxley of Greenwich, Connecticut.

The D.C.-based nonprofit, run by RFK Jr.’s sister Kerry, says on its website that it works to “right wrongs, heal pain, expose injustice.” So, what about righting the wrong that RFK Jr. did to Hasbrouck and Tinsley over Martha Moxley’s murder?

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialMartha was beaten to death with a golf club in 1975, a killing that drew national attention and that today, 43 years later, has not been fully resolved. At the time, police described her death as “overkill,” indicating the killer knew her and acted out of a personal rage. The murder weapon matched a set of clubs found the next day in the home of Martha’s neighbor, Rushton Skakel, the brother of Ethel Kennedy. In 2002, Rushton’s son, Michael, who was 15 at the time and who is RFK Jr.’s first cousin, was convicted of the murder and served 11 years in prison. Connecticut’s top court subsequently ruled that his attorney, Mickey Sherman, had not provided an adequate defense. Prosecutors have appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Most recently, 11 states have joined their appeal.

Starting around 2006, RFK Jr. started peddling the notion in Connecticut courts that Martha’s killers were Hasbrouck and Tinsley, who were then teenagers living in the Bronx who had visited friends in Greenwich.

In 2016, long after a judge ruled that Kennedy’s charge lacked credible evidence, he published a book, “Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn’t Commit.”

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittAlthough neither Hasbrouck nor Tinsley had ever met Martha, Kennedy wrote that the motive for the killing was that Hasbrouck “was obsessed” with Martha’s “beautiful blond hair.” If that wasn’t playing to racial stereotypes, he added that Hasbrouck and Tinsley then decided to go “caveman” on her.

“Using the evidence I have cited in this book,” he wrote, “prosecutors have sufficient cause to indict Burton Tinsley and Adolph Hasbrouck for Martha Moxley’s murder.”

And, he added, if Hasbrouck and Tinsley are innocent, “Let them sue me.” 

Well, like the jailed women and teenagers who can’t afford to post bail, neither Hasbrouck nor Tinsley has the money to sue him.

Hasbrouck served three years in the army, graduated from SUNY Brockport, has been married for more than 20 years, has a grown daughter, and for more than 15 years has worked as a networks operations supervisor at ABC in New York.

“I don’t have the funds to fight this,” he said in an interview in 2016. “Who could imagine this could happen to you? You can’t just throw innocent people under the bus because it suits him.”

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialKennedy’s accusations “affected me mentally and physically,” he said. “I see people looking at me. … People drive by my house. They park in my driveway. They knock on my door. They camp outside for hours. Before I enter my house, I look to see if anybody is lurking. I keep my curtains drawn so people can’t look inside. I can’t sit out in my backyard. My wife gets physically sick whenever this come up. There is nothing as devastating as being called a murderer.”

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