Last Friday, Drew Peterson appeared in court for the first time in almost two years. A new Judge was appointed to his trial for murder and his defense team also filed a number of motions which were then impounded.
One of the motions asked that the murder charges be dropped because of the testimony offered by Wheaton attorney, Harry Smith. Smith testified at the Grand Jury which indicted Peterson, and again later at a pre-trail hearing to test the admissibility of fifteen hearsay statements.
Peterson’s team says that by offering up testimony regarding Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson, that Smith violated attorney-client confidentiality and called it the “worst breach of attorney ethics”. They feel the breach is so grievous that not only should Smith not be allowed to testify at Drew’s trial, but that Peterson’s entire case should be thrown out of court.
Since Smith was Savio’s attorney, we can only presume that she is the client in question here, and there is no doubt that Smith represented Kathleen during her divorce from Drew Peterson, but their relationship ended abruptly with her death in the 2004, and he was officially dropped when the executor of Kathleen’s will (Peterson’s Uncle, James Carroll) informed him that his services were no longer needed.
Seeing as Kathleen had asked Smith to go to police in the event that she died and to tell them that Drew had killed her, it would seem that by talking, he is only fulfilling his obligations to his client, rather than breaching any confidentiality.
Of course it’s easy to see why Peterson’s defense would try to keep Harry Smith from testifying. He has a good deal of compelling testimony to deliver on the stand. He will testify that Stacy Peterson (not a client of his) spoke with him twice in the week before her disappearance. She told him that she wanted to divorce Drew Peterson and asked if she could get more money from the divorce if she threatened to tell the police what she knew about Peterson killing his third wife. She told him that “Drew was pissed because he thinks I told (his son) Tom that he killed Kathy”. Peterson told the media that he was “shocked” to learn that Stacy had had discussions with Attorney Smith.
Smith may also testify that at the time of Kathleen’s death, things were not going well for Drew Peterson in the later stages of his contentious divorce from Savio, and that Peterson was aware of it and angry. Smith testified at the pre-trial hearing that shortly before Savio was found dead, a judge had told him and Peterson’s attorney that she was about to recommend that Savio be allowed to keep the couple’s Bolingbrook home, receive a share of his police pension, child support and some money from the sale of a bar the couple had owned.
In march of 2008, Harry Smith gave a lengthy interview to Roe Conn on WLS-AM 890 in Chicago. At that time he could not mention what Stacy had told him about Drew killing Kathleen, but he gave a full account of his dealings with both Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson. It’s a good listen.
Acandyrose has a complete transcript of the above interview.