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”.