By Danya Hooker
Drew Peterson’s attorney Joel Brodsky withdrew a motion Wednesday to stay court proceedings on the reopening of Kathleen Savio’s estate.
The withdrawal paves the way for Savio’s family to move forward with their investigation into whether there is enough evidence to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson for Savio’s March 2004 drowning.
But Brodsky said he would welcome the lawsuit in the event his appeal of the decision to reopen the estate is denied. The lawsuit, he said, would give Peterson’s legal team the right to interview witnesses currently off-limits to them.
“It would actually be a gift rather than a burden,” Brodsky said. “We’d pretty much be able to have a private grand jury. We could depose pretty much every person that’s been before the grand jury. For example, Pastor (Neil) Schori, I think he’d probably be the first guy.”
Will County Judge Carmen Goodman ordered the estate reopened in April. Shortly after, Brodsky appealed the decision and asked the judge to postpone further estate hearings pending the outcome of the appeal.
Brodsky said the appellate court is likely to rule on the appeal within the next few months. That time frame, and the investigative benefits of a wrongful death lawsuit, led Brodsky to reconsider, and ultimately withdraw, his motion to postpone court proceedings.
Savio, Peterson’s third wife, was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. At the time, her death was ruled an accident but the Oct. 28 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, led investigators to re-examine Savio’s drowning.
Savio’s body was exhumed in November 2007 and two pathologists, one at the request of her family and one on behalf of Will County, performed separate autopsies. Each recently ruled the death a homicide. Brodsky said he would also have the power to subpoena the autopsy reports from both pathologists.
Peterson has been named a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, which police have a labeled a “potential homicide.” Police have not named a suspect in Savio’s homicide.
Peterson has denied any wrongdoing in either case and has not been charged with a crime.