Vaughn murders: Finger-pointing former Peterson attorney unsuccessful in bid for mistrial

In a last-ditch effort to reverse Christopher Vaughn’s murder conviction prior to sentencing, ex-Peterson attorney George Lenard filed a motion on Monday listing 51 reasons why his client deserves a new trial. Among those claims was one that the publicity-seeking media antics of Drew Peterson’s defense team had contributed to the jury’s decision to convict Vaughn of murdering his family.

Christopher Vaughn’s trial took place in a neighboring court room at the Will County Courthouse and was partially concurrent to Peterson’s. Lenard’s motion claimed that jurors were exposed to a press conference in which Peterson’s lawyers appeared to mock his missing and deceased wives. The motion posited that the disgust this engendered influenced their feelings about defense attorneys in general, and caused the jury to become biased against Vaughn and his defense.

However, on Tuesday Judge Daniel Rozak denied the motion, saying there is no evidence that jurors were even aware of the other attorneys’ news conferences. Vaughn was sentenced to serve four life sentences for the murder of his family.

Never media-shy, the Peterson team rallied to the cry and responded to reporters and via Twitter to lambaste the efforts of the lawyer who had once represented Drew Peterson.

Steven Greenberg, who was criticized by co-counsel Joel Brodsky after Drew Peterson’s guilty verdict, and briefly fired only to be brought back into the defense fold, joked on Twitter that once again it was not his fault.

Joe Lopez, who replaced George Lenard on the Peterson defense in 2010 after Lenard withdrew citing irreconcilable differences with co-counsel Joel Brodsky, was particularly jovial and compared Lenard’s claim to that of the famous Twinkie Defense (which, although highly criticised, was successful).

Present Peterson team member Steve Greenberg and Joel Brodsky, who withdrew last month and is being accused of providing Peterson with ineffective assistance of counsel, stated that it was just another example of blaming the already highly criticized team.

Joel Brodsky: “I guess if it rains tomorrow, it’s my fault.

Meanwhile, the Peterson defense has been attempting to reverse their own client’s conviction on the grounds of some dubious claims. Already there have been two motions filed asking for a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel by Peterson’s long-time attorney Joel Brodsky. He’s being accused of being more motivated by media exposure and book deals than in successfully defending his client and of erroneously calling to the stand an adverse witness who gave testimony putting Drew Peterson at the scene of his wife’s murder.

The state has until January tenth to respond to the defense motions.

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10 thoughts on “Vaughn murders: Finger-pointing former Peterson attorney unsuccessful in bid for mistrial

  1. Vaughn’s public defender George Lenard, who cited 51 grounds for a new trial, began his more than two-hour oral argument by taking some shots at former Peterson co-counsel Joel Brodsky.

    Lenard criticized a news conference held by Peterson’s new defense team that he said seemed to mock the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy. Prosecutors believe Peterson killed Stacy, but he has not been charged. He was tried this summer for the 2004 drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    “That gave criminal defense attorneys — all of us — a black eye,” Lenard told the judge, saying jurors may have been so disgusted by this “show” that they were unfairly prejudiced against Vaughn’s defense team.

    “I think they need to apologize about what they said out there,” Lenard later told reporters outside the courthouse.

    Prosecutors called the argument “unbelievable,” and Peterson attorney Joe Lopez tweeted it was “hilarious to blame us for his loss.”

    “It’s unbelievable that the Drew Peterson case would find itself in the Christopher Vaughn case,” Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Fitzgerald said.

    “If they thought the Drew Peterson trial was going to be an influence, why didn’t they do something about it at the time?”

    Lenard said he never expected media coverage of the two trials to overlap. He also cited as grounds for a new trial closing arguments that he said were a “personal attack” against him and the speed with which jurors returned a verdict.

  2. Most jurors take a vote right away to establish …whose for or against…if it was unanimous…it could take 15 minutes…if they stayed out for 24 hrs. and came back with guilty …what’s his point…the evidence was there…

  3. Yeah, he can fuss all he likes, but there’s no rule that says the jury has to take a certain amount of time to reach a unanimous decision.
    Sometimes people are just guilty and no amount of spin can change the evidence!

  4. Once drew is finished all his drama and acquisitions and he is sentenced…can Stacy’s family get any rights to the kids…I feel it’s very harmful for them not to be a part of her family….

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