The schizophrenia of the Drew Peterson pre-trial defense

As the Drew Peterson murder case moves ever closer to trial, a barrage of motions are being filed, argued and decided on a weekly basis. Peterson’s defense is presently concerned with barring as much evidence as possible from his trial. In their fervor to attack the prosecution’s testimony and witnesses the arguments can get downright schizophrenic.

Still to be decided by Judge Burmila is the question of whether Kathleen Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith, will be allowed to testify that she told him she feared her husband would kill her and make it look like an accident.

Smith previously testified at the Grand Jury and also at a pre-trial hearing in February 2010. At the time of that hearing Joel Brodsky attacked his testimony by saying that Savio had lied to Smith–that she would have said anything in order to hurt Peterson.

More recently, the defense has shifted tactics and gone after Attorney Smith by claiming that in speaking out at all he violated the attorney-client privilege and not only should his testimony be barred, but the entire case should be tossed out over such an egregious breach of ethics.

At some point during Wednesday’s proceedings it would appear that Judge Burmila accepted the prosecution’s argument that Savio waived the attorney-client privilege when she asked Attorney Smith to go to authorities and the media if she were to die.

Suddenly, the defense switched from arguing that Smith was wrong for speaking out to now attempting to paint him as a liar who was never told anything by Kathleen Savio and who lied about attempting to contact authorities upon her death. Now in a bizarre 180-turn, Attorney Lopez was reaming Smith because he “sat idle” and “did nothing” when Kathleen Savio was found dead in the bathtub of the house she once shared with Drew Peterson. (For the record, Harry Smith has testified that when Kathleen Savio died, he did contact authorities but his call was not returned. Further, in an interview with Roe Conn, Smith stated that all the documentation he had regarding Kathleen Savio [including written statements from Kathleen about her fear of Peterson] were supplied to ISP for their initial investigation of Savio’s death.)

While arguing that Attorney Smith didn’t act quickly enough or do enough to share what Kathleen had told him (and is therefore lying about everything), the defense is hoping the court has forgotten their earlier arguments about privilege and confidence, because of course if you think about that, you might logically assume that Attorney Smith could very well have been considering the ethics of coming forward when he acted or did not act on the confidences of Kathleen Savio.

To further complicate things, Smith told Judge Burmila in court on Wednesday that he has not been completely forthcoming with everything he was told by Kathleen Savio, and that he has kept his tongue about certain information because it would violate the attorney-client privilege. Judge Burmila has arranged to meet privately with Smith to discuss this previously undisclosed information, which is possibly something that could implicate Savio in some sort of wrongdoing. Now Peterson’s defense is all in a lather to know about this information and to make sure it is heard in court, saying that if Smith is allowed to share some of what he knows then he should spill his guts about everything.

Is your head spinning yet?

Look, I accept that a defense team is going to have to attack any and all witness testimony. It’s their job to get as little evidence as possible admitted in court and I can respect that. With that said, don’t expect me to not point and laugh when a team is so divided that they contradict each other and argue out of both sides of their mouths.

I won’t even go into the hypocrisy of attorney Steven Greenberg, a Johnny-come lately lawyer who latched onto the high-profile case, standing in front of the cameras and calling Harry Smith “self-serving” and “gold-digging” or Pastor Neil Schori “a hack who is in this just for his own benefit and his own publicity”.

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8 thoughts on “The schizophrenia of the Drew Peterson pre-trial defense

  1. Just watched an interview where Greenberg says,

    “Reverend Schori is a hack who is in this just for his own benefit and his own publicity and you shouldn’t belive anything he says and the jury shouldn’t hear what he says”

    A “hack”? Like an unprofessional person who doesn’t know their job? Wha? He’s not very accomplished at being a pastor? That makes no sense whatsoever.

    And good luck trying to convince a jury (much less a judge) that Schori spoke out for personal gain.

    *cough* Grasping at straws *cough*

  2. Imagine if this team of lawyers didn’t have the opportunity to give their soundbites after a round of court. Hacks, liars, fame whores. How would we know that these witnesses wear these various hats were it not for the defense to remind us?

    Are they kidding us? Do they mean to say that their lying, cheating, conniving, wife abusing POS of a client rises above the reputations of either Attorney Smith or Pastor Schori? Drew Peterson isn’t a hack, liar and/or fame whore? Heh, that is a bad joke. How can they stand before the microphones and spew out exactly what is the makeup of their own murder defendant of a client? Amazing. Unless the future jury has been living in caves, they’re well aware of who Drew Peterson is, and his own flurry of self-promoting media appearances.

    Scotty, get a lock on these boobs and beam them up ASAP.

  3. Downtown businesses eye Drew Peterson trial payday

    Updated: June 9, 2012 6:53PM

    Joliet is preparing for an onslaught of media, lawyers and curiosity seekers as the Drew Peterson murder trial draws near.

    Downtown business owners are thinking of ways to capture the extra business, and local officials are trying to figure out ways to squeeze the influx of reporters into the already overcrowded courthouse and parking lots.

    Full bellies

    If the trial begins in late July as scheduled, Jim O’Connell, the owner of McBrody’s Bar and Grill at 73 W. Jefferson St, will be ready.

    He’s already printing paper menus for the hundreds of dozens of journalists expected to descend on downtown Joliet for the trial.

    “I’ll go right to the parking lots and hand them to people,” said O’Connell, whose restaurant is just a block or so west of the courthouse at 14 W. Jefferson St.

    Hallie Brenczewski, owner of The Department restaurant at Chicago and Cass streets, said her restaurant has created an express lunch menu for busy journalists or lawyers who need to eat quickly and get back to work.

    “We think the trial will have a big impact on business,” she said. “A lot of curious people as well as the media will be coming to downtown Joliet.”

    Brenczewski said there was a spike in business at her restaurant during the hearsay evidence hearing held in the spring of 2010.

    “That’s why we want to be ready for it this time with our express menus,” she said.

    Andy Sleezer, head chef at The Department, said diners have a need for speed because they’re worried about missing some action back at the courthouse.

    “We want to be able to provide them the opportunity to get in and out in 30 minutes,” he said.

    During the hearsay hearing, Sleezer said it was clear people were in a hurry.

    “We saw a lot of the constraints on people who had to get in and out. We’ll give them quality food to eat and get them in and out and their bellies will be full.”

    Courthouse lottery

    Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, is accused of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and police have said he is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Three books already have been written about his case, and the Lifetime Network featured a movie starring Rob Lowe as Peterson in January.

    The upcoming trial has drawn a lot of interest from media outlets that want to cover it, Courts Administrator Kurt Sangmeister said.

    “We’ve gotten probably 75-plus requests for credentials,” he said. “And more are coming in every day. … This is considered one of the largest trials in the country this year.”

    In Session (formerly Court TV), Fox, CNN, “Dateline,” “Good Morning America,” and the “Today” show have all requested spots at the trial.

    Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said there are only 10 seats in the actual courtroom that will be available for reporters and about 24 seats in an overflow room where the trial will be broadcast. Seats will be determined by a lottery, she said.

    Even local hotels are short of space, Sangmeister said. He’s been referring journalists to lodging at Harrah’s Casino in downtown Joliet and along Interstate 80 at Larkin and Houbolt roads.

    “I’ve heard a lot of them are booked up because of the strike at (Caterpillar Inc. plant) and a lot of other things going on,” he said.

    Machinists have been on strike at the Caterpillar plant since May 1, and a contingency force of workers employed by the company have been staying in hotels near the plant on Route 6, just west of Larkin Avenue.

    The big NASCAR race at Chicagoland Speedway won’t be held until September, however, “which is a blessing,” Sangmeister said.

    No Drew burgers

    Businesses and court officials aren’t the only entities girding for the invasion. The city of Joliet is working with court officials and the sheriff’s police on security and parking issues, City Manager Tom Thanas said.

    All media satellite trucks will have to park in a lot next to the police station, Thanas said.

    “We’re going to ask the satellite trucks to park there rather than clog the streets around the courthouse,” he said. “Our jurisdiction is the streets and sidewalks and making sure security is maintained.”

    Media will be charged a fee to park in the police lot, Thanas added. During the hearsay hearings, the fee was $250 a week.

    While downtown restaurateurs hope to capture some of the business the Peterson trial generates, no one is offering “Drew” burgers or making light of the proceedings, McBrody’s O’Connell said.

    “The crime he’s accused of committing, I don’t really think you can make fun of. It’s still a murder trial.”

  4. If Joliet and Jim O’Connell really want to streamline things and get all that extra business, seems to me the thing to do would be to offer delivery.
    But that’s minor-so minor. Thank you for your continued details on this. I’m disappointed, too, Fax, that it won’t be streamed. Guess we’ll all just stay glued to our computer chairs and read the tweets. It’s good to know JC will have them all.
    Looks to me like someone on the defense team has started a sunglasses business. Guess they think there’ll be a demand for them with all the new people in town, and they want to be prepared.

  5. I’m glad that the judge in the Sandusky trial says it should only last three weeks…I’m ready for Drew’s trial and I wouldn’t want to miss a tweet…Bring it on!!!

  6. According to MSNBC, Sandusky’s lawyers are going to plead a personality disorder:
    “Histrionic personality disorder is part of a class of conditions called dramatic personality disorders, which are marked by unstable emotions and distorted self-images, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

    For these people, self-esteem doesn’t come from true feelings of self worth, but rather from the approval from other people, and those suffering from this disorder will often engage in dramatic or inappropriate behaviors to call attention to themselves.

    “People develop this disorder because they have a need to be appreciated and to feel valued and worthwhile and special,” said Nadine Kaslow, psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine…”
    Don’tcha know Brodsky’s paying (with free wings) some high schooler to take notes?

  7. Will County State’s Attorney:

    Based on media calls the Will County State’s Attorneys’ Office has received, there appears to be some confusion regarding the time of tomorrow’s hearing in People V. Drew Peterson. To clarify:

    The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, June 14 in courtroom 403. Thank you.

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