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TODAY   |  November 22, 2013

Skakel’s attorney: A great weight has been lifted

Hubert Santos, Michael Skakel’s lawyer, sits down with Matt Lauer, saying that his client is relieved to be free on bail and will take the stand if he faces another trial.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: michael skakel , out of prison, though not free.

>> he is michael 's appellate attorney. he's with us exclusively. good to see you.

>> good to see you.

>> did michael skakel describe his emotions to you as he walked out of the courthouse a freeman yesterday?

>> he didn't describe them but you could see a great weight had been lift aufd his shoulders and the first thing he said to me when we posted the bond, his first remarks were thank god.

>> his fight is not over. he's a freeman physically but there's still a long legal road to go here. the state is appealing the overturning of the conviction. they may call for a new trial. how worried are you about that? how worried is he about that?

>> he's not worried because he knows he didn't commit the crime. did not murder martha moxley . so he would look forward to another trial where all the evidence would be heard by the jury.

>> but the prosecutor stood up and said let's remember a judge overturned this conviction because he thinks the attorney for michael skakel acted poorly. not because he said that michael skakel is innocent and that prosecutor went on to say the state had and still has a strong case against michael skakel .

>> well, the judge that ordered the new trial said in a 136 page opinion that the case against michael skakel was weak, very weak. and so we anticipate that at a ret retrial the jury will finally hear all the evidence.

>> in your efforts to win a new trial you filed a petition with the court that basically said there's a chance it was not michael skakel but his brother thomas that committed the murder of martha moxley . he was an early suspect and perhaps one of the last people seen with martha when she was alive. even the judge that overturned the conviction said the defense should have raised that possibility during the trial. it would have gone to reasonable doubt . if there is a second trial, will that be part of the strategy? would you be willing to point a finger at michael 's own brother thomas in this case?

>> well, we -- most certainly if there's a retrial we not only would present that evidence for the jury to consider but we also would present evidence regarding other people that have been suspects over the years. remember, michael was never a suspect until the 1990s .

>> we should mention that thomas skakel has always maintained his innocence and was never charged. but wouldn't that be an emotional dilemma for michael skakel to sit in a courtroom and listen to his attorney or attorneys point a possible finger at his own brother?

>> there's no doubt about that, that it would be an emotional turmoil for michael because he loves his brother and cares for his brother. we're not saying that his brother committed the crime. we're simply saying that the jury --

>> does michael believe it's possible that his brother committed the crime?

>> i asked michael the question and he does not believe it.

>> will michael take the stand if there's a second trial.

>> absolutely.

>> do you think you can get a fair trial ? there's always been incredible media attention around this crime ever since 1975 but it seems to have intensified over the last couple of years. can michael skakel get a fair trial ?

>> not in stanford, not in fairfield county where the attitude -- what was not understood was the enormous impact that publicity had. the books and then of course the great sympathy for mrs. moxley which everyone shares. if you're going to get a fair trial it's not going to be in fairfield county .

>> you talk about the sympathy with mrs. moxley. she was in court as applause broke out after michael skakel was released. can you imagine what she must be feeling this morning?

>> she is a very brave woman and a very determined woman. she is convinced that michael committed the crime and you could have nothing but sympathy and admiration for her. she is a very descent person. can you imagine you're in the most wealthy area of the world in 1975 , the most secure area and your daughter is killed viciously in the drive way of her home. so it's unimaginable how she has been able to deal with this all of these years.

>> mr. santos, i appreciate your time this morning. thanks very much.

>> thank you.